Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale
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All hurricanes are dangerous, but some are more so than others. The storm surge, wind and other factors determine the hurricane's destructive power. To make comparisons easier, hurricane forecasters use a disaster potential scale which assigns storms to five categories. The Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale can be used to give an estimate of the potential destructive power of a hurricane.
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane's present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale, as storm surge values are highly dependent on the slope of the continental shelf in the landfall region.
Note that all winds are using the U.S. 1-minute average.
Winds 74-95 mph
No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.
Winds 96-110 mph
Some roofing material, door and window damage mph to buildings. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile home s, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.
Winds 111-130 mph
Some strtuctural damage to small buildings. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Low-lying areas may be flooded inland 8 miles or more.
Winds 131-155 mph
More extensive structural damage to small buildings. Major erosion of beach. Major damage to lower floors of structures near shore. Flooding of low-lying areas may require massive evacuation of residential areas inland as far as 6 miles.
Winds greater than 155 mph
Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of structures within 500 yards of shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to ten miles of the shoreline may be required.
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