Hurricane
The eye of a hurricane.
  • President Donald Trump on Sunday said he was not sure he had "ever even heard of a Category 5" hurricane, even though four storms of that intensity have threatened the US since he took office.
  • "I'm not sure that I've ever even heard of a Category 5. I knew it existed," he said during a Federal Emergency Management Administration briefing, adding: "But a Category 5 is something that - I don't know that I've ever even heard the term other than I know it's there."
  • Four storms that were at some point designated a Category 5 have threatened the US or its territories since Trump took office: Irma in 2017, Maria in 2017, Michael in 2018, and the current storm, Dorian.
  • Dorian slammed into the island of Great Abaco in the Bahamas on Sunday with wind gusts of up to 220 mph, causing major devastation. It is slowly moving west toward the Florida coastline.
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President Donald Trump on Sunday said he was not sure he had "ever even heard of a Category 5" hurricane, even though four storms of that classification have threatened the US mainland or US territories under his presidency.

Trump received a briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Administration headquarters in Washington, DC, on Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm that has devastated the Bahamas and was slowly approaching America's southeastern coastline with sustained winds of 185 mph as of Sunday evening.

During his briefing, Trump described Dorian as "very, very powerful" and said the storm would be "one of the biggest hurricanes that we've ever seen."

"We don't even know what's coming at us," he said. "All we know is it's possibly the biggest. I'm not sure that I've ever even heard of a Category 5. I knew it existed. And I've seen some Category 4s - you don't even see them that much.

"But a Category 5 is something that - I don't know that I've ever even heard the term other than I know it's there. That's the ultimate, and that's what we have, unfortunately."

The CNN reporter Daniel Dale examined Trump's comments and found he had made similar statements about previous storms during his presidency.

"I never even knew a Category 5 existed," he said on September 14, 2017, just days after Hurricane Irma - a Category 5 storm that battered parts of the Caribbean islands before weakening to a Category 4 hurricane when it made landfall in the Florida Keys.

Later in September, Hurricane Maria devastated parts of Dominica, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The Category 5 storm, which weakened to a Category 4 when it hit Puerto Rico, left nearly 3,000 people dead, and the US territory is still recovering from the impacts of the natural disaster.

"So we've never seen it," Trump said on September 26, 2017, about Maria's impact. "It actually touched down as a Category 5. People have never seen anything like that."

In October 2017, Trump reiterated claims that Category 5 storms were inconceivable, saying "nobody has ever heard of a 5 hitting land."

And in May of this year, months after Category 5 Hurricane Michael ravaged the Florida Panhandle, Trump told the crowd at a campaign rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, that he had "never heard about Category 5s before."

"A Category 5 is big stuff," he said.

Dorian is the 4th Category 5 storm to threaten the US under Trump

Four Category 5 storms have actually threatened the US since the beginning of Trump's presidency: Irma in 2017, Maria in 2017, Michael in 2018, and Dorian, which has been slowly heading toward the Florida coast but may not actually make landfall in the state, according to AccuWeather forecasts as of 10 p.m. ET on Sunday.

AccuWeather predicts that Dorian may still cause damage in eastern parts of Florida even if the central part of the storm does not reach the coastline.

Changes to Dorian's strength are expected through Monday depending on the position and conditions inside the eye of the storm.

A chart showing the most intense hurricanes that have made landfall in the US.
Accuweather

The US has experienced several destructive hurricanes in recent years, most recently Michael, which made landfall in Florida on October 10, 2018 with wind speeds of 160 mph.

Dorian slammed into the island of Great Abaco on Sunday with wind gusts of up to 220 mph, causing major devastation.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) called the storm "catastrophic" as it battered Great Abaco and the Grand Bahama Island, and issued a storm surge warning for parts of Florida, including Lantana to the Volusia/Brevard County line as of 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

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