The Saffir-Simpson Damage-Potential Scale
This scale was developed in the early 1970s by Herbert Saffir, a consulting engineer in Coral Gables, Florida, and Dr. Robert Simpson, then Director of the National Hurricane Center. The scale is based primarily on wind speeds and includes estimates of barometric pressure and storm surge associated with each of the five categories.

Category Central Pressure Winds Surge
1) Minimal greater than980 mb or 28.94 in 74 to 95 mphor64 to 83 kts 4 to 5 feet
2) Moderate 965 to 979 mbor28.50 to 28.91 in 96 to 110 mphor65 to 96 kts 6 to 8 feet
3) Extensive 945 to 964 mbor27.91 to 28.47 in 111 to 130 mphor97 to 113 kts 9 to 12 feet
4) Extreme 920 to 944 mbor27.17 to 27.88 in 131 to 155 mphor114 to 135 kts 13 to 18 feet
5) Catastrophic less than 920 mb or 27.17 in greater than155 mph or 135 kts greater than18 feet


Category 1 [Minimal]
  • damage primarily restricted to shrubbery, trees, and unanchored mobile homes; no substantial damage to other structures; some damage to poorly constructed signs
  • low lying roads inundated; minor damage to piers; small craft in exposed anchorages torn from moorings
Category 2 [Moderate]
  • considerable damage to shrubbery and tree foliage, some trees blown down; major damage to exposed mobile homes; extensive damage to poorly constructed signs and some damage to windows, doors and roofing materials of buildings, but no major destruction to buildings
  • coastal roads and low lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water about 2 to 4 hours before landfall; considerable damage to piers and marinas flooded; small craft in protected anchorage torn from moorings
  • evacuation of some shoreline residences and low lying areas required
Category 3 [Extensive]
  • foliage torn from trees; large trees blown down; poorly constructed signs blown down; some damage to roofing, windows, and doors; some structural damage to small buildings; mobile homes destroyed.
  • serious flooding along the coast; many small structures near the coast destroyed; larger coastal structures damaged by battering waves and floating debris
  • low lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water about 3 to 5 hours before landfall; flat terrain 5 feet or less above sea level flooded up to 8 or more miles inland
  • evacuation of low lying residences within several blocks of shoreline may be required
Category 4 [Extreme]
  • shrubs, trees, and all signs blown down; extensive damage to roofs, windows, and doors, with complete failure of roofs on many smaller residences; mobile homes demolished
  • flat terrain 10 feet or less above sea level flooded inland as far as 6 miles; flooding and battering by waves and floating debris cause major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore; low lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water about 3 to 5 hours before landfall; major erosion of beaches
  • massive evacuation of all residences within 500 yards of the shore may be required, as well as of single story residences in low ground with 2 miles of the shore
Category 5 [Catastrophic]
  • trees, shrub, and all signs blown down; considerable damage to roofs of buildings, with very severe and extensive damage to winds and doors; complete failure on many roofs of residences and industrial buildings; extensive shattering of glass in windows and doors; complete buildings destroyed; small building overturned or blown away; mobile homes demolished
  • major damage to lower floors of all structures less than 15 feet above sea level within 1500 feet of the shore
  • low lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water about 3 to 5 hours before landfall; major erosion of beaches
  • massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to 10 miles of the shore may be required


[Information courtesy of Hurricanes!, Peter R. Chaston.]


FOX23 Weather Center
69°
Feels Like: 69°
High: 71° | Low: 66°
Cloudy

You Catch It
Do you have a photo or video you want to share with FOX23? Upload it NOW!

You Catch It!


FOX23 On The Go
If you're always on the go, take FOX23 News with you. Stay connected with Breaking News and Breaking Weather updates sent to you by email, text, or on your phone.
Email Alerts Text Alerts Email Alerts

Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.
Mobile advertising for this site is available on Local Ad Buy.