Hurricane Intensity Scale
A photo taken on September 17, 2017 shows a roofless building at the Alizea residence in Mont Vernon, on the French Caribbean island of Saint Martin, after the passage of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm. (Photo credit:
HELENE VALENZUELA/AFP/Getty Images)
Sustained Winds: 119–153 kph (74–95 mph).
Example: Hurricane Dolly, which struck Padre Island, Texas, in 2008.
Category 1 winds can damage a home’s roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Older mobile homes could be destroyed, especially if they are not anchored properly, because they tend to shift or roll off their foundations. Large tree branches often break off, and trees with shallow roots tend to topple during these storms. Extensive damage to power lines and poles is also likely. (Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images)
Sustained Winds 154–177 kph (96–110 mph).
Example: Hurricane Frances, which hit coastal portions of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., in 2004.
Category 2 storms pose a danger to the roof and siding of even a well-constructed frame home. Unreinforced masonry walls can collapse. Many shallow-rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted, and often end up blocking roadways. Near-total power loss is expected, with outages that could last from several days to weeks, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. (Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
Sustained Winds 178–208 kph (111–129 mph).
Example: Hurricane Sandy was a Category 3 at its peak when it hit Cuba in 2012.
In a category 3 hurricane, even newer mobile homes will likely sustain severe damage, including roof cave-ins and collapsing walls, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Complete failure of older metal buildings is possible, and older unreinforced masonry buildings can collapse. Windows in high-rise buildings are susceptible to being blown out. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm. (Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Sustained Winds 209–251 kph (130–156 mph).
Example: Hurricane Harvey, which hammered parts of Texas and Louisiana in August.
A category 4 storm will severely damage even well-built frame homes. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted, and power poles downed. These fallen trees and poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months, and most of the stricken area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. (Photo credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) Advertisement
Sustained Winds 252 kph (157 mph) or higher.
Example: Hurricane Irma, which pounded Florida, the Bahamas and elsewhere in early September.
A hurricane at category 5 will destroy nearly all mobile homes and most framed homes in its path, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Most unreinforced masonry walls will fail, which can lead to the collapse of entire buildings. A high percentage of industrial buildings and low-rise apartment buildings will be destroyed. Most of the affected area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. (Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via Getty Images) Advertisement Expertise. Insights. Illumination.
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