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Hurricane Michael was the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States in terms of pressure, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969, as well as the strongest Atlantic hurricane to form in the month of October since Hurricane Wilma. It was also the strongest storm in terms of maximum sustained wind speed to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992. In addition, it was the strongest storm on record in the Florida Panhandle, and was the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the contiguous United States, in terms of wind speed. The thirteenth named storm, seventh hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Michael originated from a broad low-pressure area that formed in the southwestern Caribbean Sea on October 2. The disturbance became a tropical depression on October 7, after nearly a week of slow development. By the next day, Michael had intensified into a hurricane near the western tip of Cuba, as it moved northward. The hurricane strengthened rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico, reaching major hurricane status on October 9, peaking as a high-end Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale.

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