How are hurricanes categorized?

Weather News

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – As Henri moves towards New England, we’ve been hearing a lot about what category the storm will be when it gets here. The 22News Storm Team explains how hurricanes are rated.

The Saffir-Simpson scale is the scale we use to rate hurricanes and it’s based on the wind speeds. The scale rates hurricanes on a scale of 1 to 5 based on the hurricane’s sustained wind speed.

  • A category 1 hurricane has winds of 74 to 95 mph and will produce some damage.
  • A category 2 hurricane has winds of 96 to 110 mph and is extremely dangerous and will cause extensive damage.
  • A category 3 has winds of 111 to 129 mph and will cause devastating damage.
  • A category 4 hurricane has winds of 130 to 156 mph and will cause catastrophic damage.
  • A category 5 hurricane has winds of 157 mph and higher and will also cause catastrophic damage with most areas being uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Category 3 hurricanes and higher are classified as major hurricanes. It’s important to note that the Saffir-Simpson Scale does not take into consideration impacts such as storm surge, flooding and tornadoes. And we typically are more concerned with the rain here in western Massachusetts.

It’s becoming more likely that Tropical Storm Henri will become a category 1 hurricane and will impact our weather this weekend, with heavy rain and wind arriving Sunday. The strongest winds will be to our east out over the Cape and the Islands where Hurricane Watches are now in effect.

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The 22News Storm Team will continue to track Tropical Storm Henri throughout the weekend. View the latest updates on-air, on WWLP.com, and on the 22News apps.

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