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The difference between Hurricane wind scales and what measure of damage to expect in each category

File photo.
File photo.

Understanding hurricane categories can be tricky.

We can expect storms declared in a higher category are more severe, but what does it actually mean?

Here are Hurricane categories and wind scales explained:

Category 1 Hurricane: Winds 74-95 mph

  • No real damage to building structures.
  • Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees.
  • Some damage to poorly constructed signs.

Category 2 Hurricane: Winds 96-110 mph

  • Some roofing material, door and window damage of buildings.
  • Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees with some trees blown down.
  • Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs and piers.

Category 3 Hurricane: Winds 111-129 mph

  • Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures.
  • Damage to shrubbery and trees, with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down.
  • Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed.
  • Low-lying escape routes are cut off by rising water 3-5 hours before the arrival of the center of the hurricane.
  • Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating debris.

Category 4 Hurricane: Winds 130-156 mph

  • More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences.
  • Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down.
  • Complete destruction of mobile homes.
  • Extensive damage to doors and windows.

Category 5 Hurricane: Winds greater than 156 mph

  • Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings.
  • Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away.
  • All shrubs, trees, and signs are blown down.
  • Complete destruction of mobile homes.
  • Severe and extensive window and door damage.