15 years ago to the day, authorities were ordering 150,000 people to evaluate from Havana as Hurricane Michelle was strengthening to a category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds near 135-mph. The hurricane had already killed 12 people in Central America and Jamaica.
The majority of damage caused by Michelle occurred in Cuba, where the storm was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on the island since 1952. Hurricane Michelle caused widespread devastation across the western Caribbean during its eight-day trek. Damage in the island country was estimated at $18 million.
Strong storm surge and heavy rainfall disrupted communication networks across the country. High winds and rain also destroyed buildings and damaged the sugar cane crop.
After Michelle crossed the island of Cuba, it began to weaken. Residents from south Florida and the Keys were watching Michelle very closely, but Michelle ended up moving to the northeast, away from Florida. The only impacts from Michelle on Florida were strong wind gusts up to 50-mph.