What are the categories of hurricane? Florida prepares to be battered by Hurricane Ian

What are the categories of hurricane? Florida prepares to be battered by Hurricane Ian

In the past 10 days, two hurricanes have swept across the Caribbean and Gulf coast, with Hurricane Ian currently still in action hot on the heels of Hurricane Fiona.

Ian is currently classed as a category three hurricane but this is expected to increase, potentially hitting Florida as a category four storm sometime today (Wednesday, September 28).

What are the categories of hurricane?

The National Hurricane Center in the United States uses the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to determine storm categories.

This is a one to five rating that is based only on a hurricane’s maximum sustained wind speed, without taking other potential deadly hazards, such as rainfall, flooding, and tornadoes, into account.

Here are the five hurricane categories and what they entail:

Category one (max sustained winds of 74 mph-95 mph)

Very dangerous winds with maximum sustained speeds of between 74 mph and 95 mph will produce some damage to property, such as roof, shingles, vinyl siding. and gutters in well-built homes. Large tree branches will likely snap and trees with shallow roots may fall. Extensive damage to power lines and poles are likely, resulting in power outages for up to several days.

Category two (max sustained winds of 96 mph - 110 mph)

Extremely dangerous winds with maximum sustained speeds of between 96 mph and 110 mph will cause extensive damage, including major roof and siding damage to buildings. Many trees with shallow roots will fall, with the potential to block roads. Power loss is expected with total outages that could last from several days to weeks.

Category three (max sustained winds of 111 mph -129 mph)

Devastating damage expected from winds, with maximum sustained speeds of between 111 mph and 129 mph, including major damage to buildings or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will fall and block numerous roads. Electricity and water are expected to be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

Category four (max sustained winds of 130 mph - 156 mph)

Catastrophic damage will occur from winds with maximum sustained speeds of between 130 mph to 156 mph, including severe damage to buildings, such as losing 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, with power outages lasting weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Category five (max sustained winds of 157 mph or higher)

Catastrophic damage will occur from winds with maximum sustained speeds of 157 mph or higher, meaning a high percentage of homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas and power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.