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Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

May 30, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preventative measures. In the western North Pacific, the term "super typhoon" is used for tropical cyclones with sustained winds exceeding 150 mph.

Scale Number (Category): 1

Sustained Winds (MPH): 74-95

Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds: Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

Hurricanes: Dolly (2008) on South Padre Island, Texas

Scale Number (Category): 2

Sustained Winds (MPH): 96-110

Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds: Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage:

Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

Hurricanes: Frances (2004) in coastal Port St. Lucie, Florida

Scale Number (Category): 3

Sustained Winds (MPH): 111-129

Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds: Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

Hurricanes: Ivan (2004) in coastal Gulf Shores, Alabama

Scale Number (Category): 4

Sustained Winds (MPH): 131-156

Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds: Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Hurricanes: Charley (2004) in coastal Punta Gorda, Florida

Scale Number (Category): 5

Sustained Winds (MPH): >156

Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds: Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallean trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Hurricanes: Andrew (1992) in coastal parts of Cutler Ridge, Florida

For more information on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, go to: www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshs.shtml

 
 
 

 

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