How to Measure the Force of a Hurricane
- 1). Determine the wind speed of the hurricane. The Saffir-Simpson model provides the following scale:
Category 1: 74 to 95 mph
Category 2: 96 to 110 mph
Category 3: 111 to 130 mph
Category 4: 131 to 155 mph
Category 5 wind speeds in excess of 155 mph
- 2). Identify the height of the storm surge, which is the rise in sea water at high tide during a storm. Based on the Saffir-Simpson scale, storm surges typically range from 4 to 5 feet in category 1 storms; 6 to 8 feet in category 2; 9 to 12 feet in category 3; 13 to 18 feet in category 4 and over 18 feet in category 5.
- 3). Survey the aftermath damage. After a category 1 storm, effects are minimal but may include vegetation and sign damage and unmoored trailers. In a category 2, wind and flooding can turn over trailers and cause small craft or roof damage. Category 3 storms leave extensive damage to homes and small buildings in their wake, while category 4 storms can flood beach homes, destroy mobile homes, uproot trees and take the roof off a home. Category 5 storms cause the most catastrophic damage and will demolish homes and buildings, destroy road systems and uproot vegetation.