Hurricane Category Wind Chart Scale
Below is the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which provides a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This simple scale estimates potential property damage and is used by basically every meteorologist in the United States.
Storms that reach Category 3 and higher are considered “major” hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Although not considered major storms, Category 1 and 2 hurricanes are still dangerous as well!
Sustained Winds: 74-95 mph
Dangerous winds that will produce some property damage. Singles, vinyl siding, and gutters can be damaged from a Category 1 hurricane. Large tree limbs may snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled over. Impacted areas may lose power for a while depending on the circumstances. Most residents won’t evacuate for a storm of Category 1 magnitude.
Sustained Winds: 96-110 mph
Extremely dangerous winds will likely cause extensive damage. Power outages could last days – maybe even weeks in some of the more remote areas along the coast. Major roof and home siding damage is possible. Mandatory evacuation may be issued for coastal areas leading up the storm’s landfall.
Sustained Winds: 111-129 mph
Serious damage will occur. Many trees will snap and fall on top of homes, cars, and roads. Electricity and water may be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm has passed. A mandatory evacuation is most certainly issued in the event of a Category 3 storm. Residents and strongly encouraged to evacuate the area before the storm makes landfall.
Sustained Winds: 130-156 mph
Catastrophic damage will likely occur. Entire roofs may be blown off of homes. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles will be down all over the place. Clean up will take weeks, maybe even months to complete. Residents who decided not to evacuate may be stranded in their homes for days without electricity or water.
Sustained Winds: 157 mph+
Total devastation. If you own a home on the coastline, you better hope that the eyewall of a Category 5 hurricane never makes landfall near your property. Many homes will be completely destroyed. Fallen trees will be all over the place. Power outages will last for many days, and your homeowner's insurance company will be shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of money in the wake of the storm to yourself and your neighbors.
Is there such a thing as a Category 6 hurricane?
We have seen quite a few articles on Facebook about Hurricane Irma in 2017 being a Category 6 storm. This is totally false. The Saffir-Simpson only ranks hurricanes from category 1 to 5. It doesn’t matter if a storm has sustained winds of 225 mph, the highest rating a storm can get is category 5!
Want to learn what these storms can do with some visuals? Check out the helpful and informative YouTube video below from The Weather Channel!