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The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale rates hurricanes from one to five based on wind speed, central pressure and damage potential. When a hurricane is rated at a Category 3 or higher, it is considered a major hurricane, although both Category 1 and Category 2 hurricanes can still be extremely dangerous.


Wind Speed (sustained)


Storm Surge


74 — 95 mph

Minimal: unanchored mobile homes affected, vegetation and signs; some coastal road flooding, minor pier damage

4—5 feet


96 — 110 mph

Moderate: mobile homes, small crafts, flooding in coastal and low-lying areas, shrubs, trees with some blown over

6-8 feet

3 (Major Hurricane)

111 — 129 mph*

Extensive: small buildings, low-lying roads cut off, flooding near coast destroys small structures, evacuation of low- lying areas

9-12 feet

4 (Major Hurricane)

130 — 156 mph*

Extreme: roofs destroyed, trees down, roads cut off, mobile homes destroyed, beach homes flooded, major damage to lower floors of structures near coast, massive evacuations

13-18 feet

5 (Major Hurricane)

157 or higher*

Catastrophic: most buildings destroyed, vegetation destroyed, homes flooded, severe window and door damage, major damage to lower floors of structures less than 15 ft above sea level and 500 ft from shore, massive evacuations

>18 feet

Sources: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Posted 1:00 AM

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