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Hurricane Michael was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992. In addition, it 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. It was the first Category 5 hurricane on record to impact 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 1. 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. As it approached the Florida Panhandle, Michael reached Category 5 status with peak winds of 160 mph (260 km/h) just before making landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10, becoming the first to do so in the region as a Category 5 hurricane, and as the strongest storm of the season. As it moved inland, the storm weakened and began to take a northeastward trajectory toward Chesapeake Bay, weakening to a tropical storm over Georgia, and transitioning into an extratropical cycloneover southern Virginia late on October 11. Michael subsequently strengthened into a powerful extratropical cyclone and eventually impacted the Iberian Peninsula, before dissipating on October 16.
At least 74 deaths were attributed to the storm, including 59 in the United States and 15 in Central America. Hurricane Michael caused an estimated $25.1 billion (2018 USD) in damages, including $100 million in economic losses in Central America, damage to U.S. fighter jets with a replacement cost of approximately $6 billion at Tyndall Air Force Base, and at least $6.23 billion in insurance claims in the U.S. Losses to agriculture alone exceeded $3.87 billion. As a tropical disturbance, the system caused extensive flooding in Central America in concert with a second disturbance over the eastern Pacific Ocean. In Cuba, the hurricane’s winds left over 200,000 people without power as the storm passed to the island’s west. Along the Florida panhandle, the cities of Mexico Beach and Panama Citysuffered the worst of Michael, with catastrophic damage reported due to the extreme winds and storm surge. Numerous homes were flattened and trees felled over a wide swath of the panhandle. A maximum wind gust of 139 mph (224 km/h) was measured at Tyndall Air Force Base before the sensors failed. As Michael tracked across the Southeastern United States, strong winds caused extensive power outages across the region.
Hurricane Dorian is currently a powerful extratropical cyclone affecting Atlantic Canada. It is the fifth depression, fourth named storm, second hurricane, and the first major hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricane caused catastrophic damage to Grand Bahamaand Abaco Island, with at least 70,000 people left homeless.
Dorian developed from a tropical wave on August 24 in the Central Atlantic. The system gradually intensified while moving toward the Lesser Antilles, before becoming a hurricane on August 28. Rapid intensification ensued, and on August 31, Dorian intensified into a Category 4 major hurricane. On the following day, Dorian reached Category 5 intensity, peaking with one-minute sustained winds of 185 mph (295 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 910 millibars (26.87 inHg) while making landfall in Elbow Cay, just east of Abaco Island, Bahamas, September 1st at 16:40 UTC. Dorian made another landfall on Grand Bahama several hours later, near the same intensity.
The ridge of high pressure steering Dorian westward collapsed on September 2, causing Dorian to stall just north of Grand Bahama for about a day. It is the strongest known tropical system to impact the Bahamas. Shortly after, a combination of cold water upwelling and an eyewall replacement cycle weakened Dorian to a Category 2 hurricane by the next day.
On the morning of September 3, Dorian began to move slowly towards the north-northwest. Dorian completed its eyewall replacement cycle and moved over warmer waters off the Florida east coast, regaining Category 3 intensity by midnight on September 5. In the early hours of September 6, Dorian weakened to Category 1 intensity as it picked up speed and turned northeast. At 12:35 UTC on September 6, Dorian made landfall in the U.S. at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.Dorian then began to fluctuate in intensity between Category 1 and 2 as it sped northeastward toward Nova Scotia and transitioned into a post-tropical cyclone. It became post-tropical on the morning of September 7, making landfall on Nova Scotia at 22:15 UTC later that day with 100 mph (160 km/h) winds.
From August 26 to August 28, the storm affected Caribbean nations and territories devastated by hurricanes Irma and Mariain 2017. Extensive precautionary measures were taken to mitigate damage, especially in Puerto Rico, where one person died. Damaging winds primarily affected the Virgin Islands where gusts reached 111 mph (179 km/h). Elsewhere in the Lesser Antilles, impacts from the storm were relatively minor. After moving over the Bahamas, Dorian slowed its forward motion considerably, remaining essentially stationary over the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island from September 1 to September 3. Dorian’s 185 mph (295 km/h) sustained winds at landfall ties it with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane as the strongest landfalling Atlantic hurricane, measured by sustained winds. Due to the prolonged and intense storm conditions, including heavy rainfall, high winds, and storm surge, damage in the Bahamas was catastrophic, with thousands of homes destroyed and at least 43 deaths recorded. Property damages were estimated at $7 billion for the Bahamas. Damage estimates in the U.S. and Canada are currently unknown.
In preparation for the storm, the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia all declared a state of emergency and many coastal counties from Florida to North Carolina issued mandatory evacuation orders.