Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale

Emergency preparedness

Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale

Information courtesy of National Hurricane Center.

This scale may be used to estimate the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast with a hurricane.

Category one

Winds 74-95 m.p.h. — No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees. Also some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.

Category two

Winds 96-110 m.p.h. — Some roofing material, door and window damage to buildings. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of hurricane's center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.

Category three

Winds 111-130 m.p.h. — Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures, with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 feet above sea level may be flooded inland 8 miles or more.

Category four

Winds 131-155 m.p.h. — More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach. Major damage to lower floors of structures near shore. Terrain continuously lower than 10 feet above sea level may be flooded, requiring massive evacuation of residential areas inland as far as 6 miles.

Category five

Winds greater than 155 m.p.h. —Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet above sea level and within 500 yards of shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles of shoreline may be required.