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Breaking it Down with Brittney - Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

Hurricane Wind Scale Explainer
Posted at 8:25 AM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 09:25:41-04

SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE: The Atlantic coast is being hit with the 2021's seasons first named hurricane, Elsa - as it rose to a CAT 1 strength on Friday. Just before hitting land she was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, as she progressed to hit Florida and Georgia, taking 1 life and injuring at least 10 others.

Elsa marks the first 2021 hurricane, with the others as named Tropical Storms.

Are you wondering what the exact differences are between a Tropical Storm and a Hurricane? Meteorologist Brittney Merlot breaks down the Saffir-Simpson Scale and helps us understand the damage involved with each category and strength storm.

TROPICAL STORM: 40+mph winds - Associated with a low pressure circulating over the tropical waters, with a warm core, a name is given.

CATEGORY 1:
74 - 95mph winds - Will produce some damage to well-constructed frame homes. Ripping up roof shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees knocked over. Extensive damage to power lines and poles results in power outages, lasting a few to several days.

CATEGORY 2:
96 - 110mph winds - Extremely dangerous with extensive damage to well-constructed frame homes, sustaining major roof and siding damage. Shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is likely, with outages lasting from several days to weeks.

CATEGORY 3:
111 - 129mph winds - Devastating damage will occur to well-built framed homes, with 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:
130 - 156mph winds - Catastrophic damage will occur to well-built framed homes that will receive severe damage and loss of most of the roof structure and 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 to months.

CATEGORY 5:
157mph+ winds - Catastrophic damage will occur as 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 months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for months.

Tropical  Climatology & Frequency of Different Strength Hurricanes