What are the Hurricane Categories?


What are the Hurricane Categories?

what are the hurricane categories

According to the National Hurricane Center, the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale is a 1-5 rating based on the wind speed of a Hurricane. Not the wind speed at certain times, but the sustained wind speed. The scale can quite accurately determine potential damage of a hurricane, depending on the scale’s rating. Let’s examine the different hurricane categories and what they actually mean.

Category 1

A category 1 hurricane is a hurricane with sustained wind speeds of 74-95 miles per hour. Even a category 1 hurricane is very dangerous. Frame homes can sustain damage to major structures, such as the roof, vinyl siding, gutters, and more. A strong tree branch can easily fall or break off and fall onto a house, car, or even a person. Trees with shallow roots can completely fall over. Power lines may have damage, leaving people without power for days on end.

Category 2

Category 2 hurricanes have wind speeds of 96-110 miles per hour. These extremely dangerous winds cause extensive damage, without a doubt. Shallow root trees can snap, even larger branches will fall, and roads have branches blocking them. Expect total power loss which can take up to a week or longer to restore.

Category 3

Category 3 hurricanes have wind speeds of 111-129 miles per hour. The damage at this point is now devastating. Major damage to houses is common, and decking may be completely destroyed. Electricity and water can potentially take weeks to restore after the storm is no longer viable. This is the first category considered to be a “Major” hurricane.

Category 4

Category 4 hurricanes have wind speeds of 130-156 miles per hour. The damage is now catastrophic. Homes can lose the entire roof, or even exterior walls and siding. Most trees within the hurricane’s path are uprooted or snap in half. Power lines are almost all down, and outages can last months. Where the storm hits is uninhabitable for an unforeseen amount of time.

Category 5

This is the most devastating category of a hurricane. Wind speeds are 157 miles per hour or faster. A large amount of homes are completely destroyed. Roofs fail, and houses collapse. Trees and power lines are down everywhere within the storm’s path. The area of devastation takes weeks or months to rebuild.

Hurricanes are deadly. There can be loss of life in a category 1, and there is certainly loss of life at category 5. Know how to prepare and be safe. It’s hurricane season, so gather your supplies and evacuate when it is necessary. Here are some supplies to consider:

Emergency Food Rations


First Aid Kit

Survival Backpack



…The list goes on. How do you start to prepare for hurricane season? Start here.


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