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Castle-Kaneloon


The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Intensity Scale



     Originally set up in the early 1970's, by wind engineer Herb Saffir and meteorologist Bob Simpson, to measure the intensity of the maximum sustained and not isolated peak wind speeds in hurricanes the Saffir-Simpson Scale hurricane scale was later modified to include storm surge flooding. The initial purpose of the the Saffir-Simpson Scale was to categorize tropical cyclones, as soon as their strength reaches a certain profile, by giving them specific designations and ratings, according to the following list of categories each scaling the damage intensity respectively.

Category 1 - Sustained Winds 74-95 mph, minimum pressure less than or equal to 980mb.,

Damage primarily to shrubbery, trees, foliage, and unanchored mobile homes.
Some damage to poorly constructed signs.
Coastal roads inundated minor pier damage.
Small craft with exposed anchorage torn from moorings.
No significant damage to other structures.

Category 2 - Sustained Winds 96-110 mph, minimum pressure 981-965 mb., and a storm surge of 6-8 feet.

Considerable damage to shrubbery and tree foliage, some trees blown down.
Major damage to exposed mobile homes.
Extensive damage to poorly constructed signs.
Some damage to roofs, windows, and doors.
Coastal roads may be cut by high water 2 to 3 hours before the storm arrives.
Considerable damage to piers.
Marina's flooded.
Small craft with unprotected anchorage torn from moorings.
Evacuation of the coastline and other low-lying areas may be necessary.
No major damage to buildings.

Category 3- Sustained Winds 111-130 mph, minimum pressure 964-945 mb., and a storm surge of 9-12 feet.

Foliage torn from trees, large trees blown down.
Mobile homes destroyed.
All poorly constructed signs blown down.
Some damage to roofs, windows, and doors.
Some structural damage to small buildings.
Serious flooding along coastline.
Small structures on coast destroyed, larger structures damaged by wave action.
Low level areas (5 feet and less above sea level) flooded inland 8 miles or farther.
Coastal roads may be cut by high water 3 to 5 hours before the storm arrives.
Evacuation of low-lying coastline area possibly required.

Category 4 - Sustained Winds 131-155 mph, minimum pressure 944-920 mb., and a storm surge of

Most all shrubs and trees blown down.
All signs blown down.
Extensive damage to roofs, windows, and doors, roofs on small homes destroyed.
Complete destruction of most all mobile homes.
Major damage to coastline structures due to flooding, wave action, and floating debris.
Low level areas (10 feet or less above sea level) flooded inland 6 miles or farther.
Coastal roads cut by high water 3 to 5 hours before the storm center arrives.
Major erosion of beaches.
Major evacuation of low-lying coastline area, and low ground up to 2 mile inland required.

Category 5 - Sustained Winds Greater than 155 mph, minimum pressure less than 920 mb., and a storm surge over 18 feet.

All shrubs and trees blown down.
All signs blown down.
Complete failure of roofs on residences and most industrial buildings.
Extensive shattering of glass windows and doors.
Severe and extensive damage to doors.
Some complete building failure, smaller buildings overturned or blown away.
Complete destruction of mobile homes.
Major damage to structures less than 15 above sea level due to flooding, wave action, and floating debris.
Coastal roads inundated by high water 3 to 5 hours before the storm center arrives, cutting off all evacuation routes.
Massive evacuation of entire population in low-lying areas within 5 to 10 miles of coastline.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

SCALE #
(CAT.)
CENTRAL PRESSURE
(MILLIBARS)
WINDS
(MPH)
SURGE
(FT.)
DAMAGE*
1
>980
74 - 95
4 - 5
MINIMAL
2
865 - 979
96 - 110
6 - 8
MODERATE
3
945 - 964
111 - 130
9 - 12
EXTENSIVE
4
920 - 944
131 - 155
13 - 18
EXTREME
5
<920
>155
>18
CATASTROPHIC

© Nicholas Richards 2004