How hurricane classes forecast the size of destruction By Reuters

© Reuters. Visitors lights wave by robust gust of wind forward of Hurricane Ian, in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S. September 28, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

(Corrects surname to ‘Saffir’ in second paragraph)

(Reuters) -Hurricane Ian approached Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday as a robust storm only one score shy of the best class designation given to storms in the USA.

Storm energy is outlined by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which assesses hurricane programs on a score between 1 and 5, in response to the Nationwide Hurricane Middle. The dimensions, created by and named for wind engineer Herb Saffir and meteorologist Bob Simpson, is used to forecast wind depth and potential harm.

Storm energy is categorized by a hurricane’s most sustained wind velocity and may change all through the course of a climate occasion. It doesn’t contemplate different components resembling storm surge, rain flooding and tornadoes.

Ian is a Class 4 with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour), the NHC stated. Hurricanes rated a 3 or increased are thought of main storms.

Here’s a take a look at the hurricane scale:


Storms of this magnitude characteristic sustained wind speeds of 74-95 mph (119-153 kph). Thought-about “very harmful,” winds are able to defacing dwelling exteriors, snapping tree branches and inflicting days-long energy outages. Individuals, livestock and pets face some threat of harm or dying.


These storms have sustained winds of 96-110 mph (154-177 kph). Decided to be “extraordinarily harmful,” winds can convey main harm to dwelling exteriors, uproot bushes that block roads and trigger near-total energy blackouts that might final weeks. A considerable threat of dying is current.


These main storms have sustained winds of 111-129 mph (178-208 kph). The winds are anticipated to trigger “devastating harm” to buildings, together with blown roofs, and uproot bushes. Along with misplaced energy, water outages may happen from days to weeks after the storm passes. There’s a excessive threat of dying.


Class 4 storms, resembling Hurricane Ian, carry sustained winds of 130-156 mph (209-251 kph). Winds could cause “catastrophic harm” to houses, together with destroyed roofs and exterior partitions. Along with fallen bushes, downed energy poles have potential to go away areas with out energy and uninhabitable for months. The danger of dying or harm is taken into account very excessive.


The best designation given to hurricanes with sustained winds exceeding 157 mph (252 kph). Winds trigger “catastrophic harm” that depart many houses destroyed and residential areas remoted as a result of downed bushes and energy poles. Given the in depth harm and lack of energy, areas could possibly be left unlivable for months. Danger of harm and dying, even for these indoors, could be very excessive.

Learn extra:

The worst hurricanes in Florida’s historical past as Ian takes purpose

How hurricanes trigger harmful, damaging storm surges

How local weather change is fueling hurricanes

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