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Ask 2: What do hurricane categories mean?

Ever stared down the gaping eye of a Category 4 hurricane? It's chilling, even from space. (Hurricane Florence)
Ever stared down the gaping eye of a Category 4 hurricane? It's chilling, even from space. (Hurricane Florence) (NASA)

At KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

Question: What do hurricane categories mean?

Answer: The National Hurricane Center uses a Saffir-Simpson scale to categorize storms by wind strength.

Category 1 and 2 storms will have sustained wind speed of 74-95 mph and 96-110 mph, respectively.

According to the National Hurricane Center, these storms are dangerous and require preventative measures as winds can some to extensive damage.

Hurricanes that reach Category 3 and beyond are determined to be major storms, traveling 111 mph - 129 mph for a category 3, 130 mph - 156 mph for a category 4 and upwards of 157 mph for a category 5 storm.

A Category 3 storm is expected to cause devastating damage while Category 4 and 5 storms will cause catastrophic damage.

Here’s a better look at what type of damage can occur based on storm categories:

Do you have a burning H-Town-related question? Send it our way, and we will try to hunt down an answer.

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