Understanding the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale What Each Category Means

Understanding the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: What Each Category Means

NEW ORLEANS — There is an 85% likelihood that the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be more active than typical, according to NOAA forecasters, who also expect an above-normal season.

Numerous variables, including near-record warm sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic, the emergence of La Niña conditions, a decline in Atlantic trade winds, and less wind shear, are responsible for this heightened activity. These factors all contribute to the formation and intensification of storms.

Using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, hurricanes are categorized. Based on their sustained wind speeds, hurricanes are categorized into five groups on this scale, each of which denotes a distinct degree of possible damage and danger.

Tiger, hold on! Within the LSU Hurricane Wind Machine, Category 4
A closer look at each category’s potential effects on communities is provided below.

Category 1 (74–95 mph)

These storms are dangerous even when they wreak little damage. Gutter, vinyl siding, shingles, and roof damage are all to be expected.

Shallow-rooted trees may fall, and large branches may break. Due to frequent damage to power poles and cables, power outages that last anywhere from a few hours to several days are frequent.

Category 2 (96–110 mph)

Significant damage is anticipated in a Category 2 storm, which is more dangerous. Well-built frame homes may have significant damage to the siding and roof.

Understanding the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale What Each Category Means (1)

Several highways will be blocked by the uprooting of numerous trees with shallow roots. It’s possible to lose almost all of your power, and outages can persist for days or even weeks.

Category 3 (111-129 mph)

Storms classified as Category 3 (111-129 mph) are extremely destructive and are thought to be significant hurricanes.

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Homes may sustain serious structural damage, particularly to the gables and roofs. There will be a lot of snapped or uprooted trees, which will impede highways and isolate residential areas. After the hurricane, water and electricity might not be available for a few days or even weeks.

Category 4 (130-156 mph)

Hurricanes classified as Category 4 (130-156 mph) can cause enormous damage. The majority of trees will be broken or uprooted, and electricity poles will fall. Residential areas will be isolated by fallen trees and electricity poles.

Power outages may linger for several weeks or even months. Due to the significant damage done to homes and infrastructure, the majority of the area will be uninhabitable for several weeks or months.

Category 5 ( 157 mph or More )

Category 5 storms, with winds of 157 mph or more, are the most destructive because they completely destroy homes’ roofs and walls. There will be a significant loss of framed dwellings and complete demolishment of numerous residential and commercial structures.

There will be complete regional isolation due to the snapping or uprooting of almost all trees and electricity poles. Weeks or months may pass between power interruptions. For months, the majority of the region will be unusable.

In The End

The Saffir-Simpson scale aids in community preparation and successful response to natural disasters by offering a critical understanding of the possible effects of hurricanes. Preparation and awareness are essential for reducing the destructive impact of these strong storms.

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