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Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a categorical one-to-five rating based on a hurricane's maximum sustained wind speed. The scale also estimates potential property damage. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale does not take into account other potentially deadly hazards such as storm surge, rainfall flooding and tornadoes.

Category 1

Sustained winds of 74-95 mph
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage

Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

Category 2

Sustained winds of 96-110 mph
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage

Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

Category 3

Sustained winds of 111-129 mph (major hurricane)
Devastating damage will occur
Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

Category 4

Sustained winds of 130-156 mph (major hurricane)
Catastrophic damage will occur
Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Category 5

Sustained winds of 157 mph or higher (major hurricane)
Catastrophic damage will occur
A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.