When a hurricane watch or warning is issued, it’s important to know what each hurricane category means. That way, you can know how much wind and water to expect, and how you’ll need to prepare for the oncoming storm. While a hurricane category may not be able to predict everything about an approaching storm, a category can provide a good indication of how the hurricane might affect a local area.
Read on as we share with you everything you need to know about hurricane categories to prepare ahead for hurricane season.
Measurement of Hurricane Categories
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) measures a hurricane’s sustained wind speed using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The scale illustrates the types of damage and repercussions associated with winds of varying intensities. Unfortunately, the scale presently does not assess the possibility of significant storm surges and catastrophic rains.
Below is a list of classifications and the hazards associated with each category.
A Category One hurricane, with winds ranging from 74 to 95 miles per hour, might cause some property damage such as damage to the roof, shingles, and gutters. Damage to electricity lines and poles is also possible, resulting in power outages that might persist for days. Dangerous winds might demolish older mobile homes, and falling debris could injure people and damage infrastructure.
Winds of a Category Two storm range from 96 to 110 miles per hour, posing a greater danger of injury to persons and infrastructure. Strong winds and falling debris, such as uprooted trees, can cause significant structural damage to your home. Residents should expect power disruptions to last several days or weeks.
Property destruction will most certainly occur with a Category Three hurricane. Winds of 111 to 129 miles per hour can cause severe damage to even the most well-built homes or buildings. Roads may become impassable as a result of uprooted trees, and electricity and water may not be accessible for several weeks after the hurricane has passed.
A Category 4 hurricane has winds of 130 to 156 miles per hour and may inflict catastrophic damage. Flying debris can cause serious injury or death, and some homes may entirely collapse. The hurricane has the potential to knock out windows in high-rise buildings and uproot most trees. Power outages and water shortages can be expected, and the area may be uninhabitable for weeks to months.
A Category Five hurricane has a wind speed of 157 miles per hour or more. People will be seriously injured or killed as a result of flying debris. Due to total roof failure and wall collapse, a substantial percentage of homes and structures may be destroyed. Commercial premises may sustain considerable damage, and metal structures may collapse. Residents could expect long-term power and water disruptions, and the area will be uninhabitable for months.
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