Governor Nathan Deal ordered an evacuation of six coastal counties this morning in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s landfall. According to the National Hurricane Center, the latest update says Matthew has sustained maximum wind speeds of 140 miles per hour, making it a Category 4 hurricane.
This would be the first Category 4 hurricane of this year’s Hurricane Season, and the first since Hurricane Joaquin hit the Bahamas in October of last year. According to the NHC’s report, Joaquin reached peak maximum speeds of 135 knots, which roughly equates to 155 mph. Joaquin was responsible for 34 deaths in the Bahamas as well as an estimated $60 million in damages.
The last hurricane of at least a Category 3 rating to inflict serious damage on the United States was Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Sandy had a maximum sustained wind speed of 100 knots (115 mph). The NHC estimates that Sandy was directly responsible for 72 U.S. deaths, and indirectly responsible for 87 more U.S. deaths. The hurricane also caused nearly $62 billion in damages.
Sandy was the most expensive hurricane in the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane and reached a max sustained wind speed of 150 knots (172.6 mph). The NHC’s report estimates nearly $108 billion in damages with approximately 1833 fatalities.
– By Cam Gaskins