The Hurricane Scale



hurricane scale

When you hear a weather anchor talking about a hurricane being in a category from 1 to 5, he or she is referring to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It is a scale that group hurricanes by their wind speed. And from the wind speed, meteorologists can use it to determine the potential damage a hurricane can do. It was first used in hurricane advisories in 1975.

Category 1: 74-95 MPH

  • Minimal damage
  • No major damage to properly built structures
  • Damage to unanchored shrubs and trees
  • Evacuations maybe ordered for areas immediately adjacent to water.

Category 2: 96-100 MPH

  • Moderate damage
  • Some roof, door and window damage to buildings
  • Considerable damages to shrubs and trees with some trees being blown down.
  • Coastal and low lying areas flood 2 to 4 hours before arrival of the hurricane's center.
  • Evacuations maybe ordered for areas near the water.
Category 3: 111-130 MPH
  • Extensive damage
  • Structural damage to residences is likely.
  • Damage to shrubs and trees with foliage blown off. Large trees are blown down.
  • Mobile homes and signs are destroyed.
  • Low lying areas flood 3 to 5 hours before arrival of the hurricane's center.
  • Small structures near coast are destroyed with larger structures being heavily damaged.
  • Evacuations will be likely ordered for areas prone to storm-surge flooding.

Category 4: 131-155 MPH

  • Extreme damage
  • Complete roofs blown off some residences. Extensive exterior damages to large buildings.
  • Shrubs, trees and all signs are blown down.
  • Complete destruction of mobile homes.
  • Major damage to lower floors of structures near the store.
  • Some coastal buildings maybe washed away.
  • Evacuations will be likely ordered for areas prone to storm-surge flooding.

Category 5: Higher than 155 MPH

  • Catastrophic damage
  • Complete roof failure on many residences and prefabricated buildings.
  • Extensive damage to exposed glass on all large buildings.
  • Some complete building failures.
  • All shrubs, trees and signs are blown down.
  • Complete destruction of mobile homes.
  • Total destruction of all structures near the shoreline.