Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: what is it, how is it used to rate hurricanes?

Weather News

As Hurricane Florence makes landfall we’ve been hearing a lot about what category the storm is. 

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is used to rate the intensity of hurricanes.

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.

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