What Hurricane Categories Actually Mean

With so many devastating hurricanes this season, the news loves reporting what category the storms are, for example, Category 4. The problem is that the average Florida resident may not know exactly what these categories mean or how they are determined.

hurricane categories


Hurricane categories are one through five and are rated on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale which is based on a storm’s sustained wind speed. This scale is used to estimate the potential property damage a hurricane will cause and was developed in Miami in the 1970s.

Hurricanes assigned categories three through five are considered major hurricanes and have a potential for significant damage and loss of life. Categories one and two should not be taken lightly and still require preventative measures. A hurricane’s category only measures the wind speed it produces and not the amount of flooding that may accompany it.

Category 1

  • Very dangerous – winds will produce some damage
  • Sustained winds from 74 to 95 mph
  • Can cause roof damage
  • May snap large tree branches
  • Power outages from extensive damage could last several days

Category 2

  • Extremely dangerous – winds will cause extensive damage
  • Sustained winds from 96 to 110 mph
  • Major roof and siding damage may occur
  • Many trees will be uprooted or snapped
  • Expected power loss of up to weeks

Category 3

  • Devastating damage will occur
  • Sustained winds from 111 to 129 mph
  • Major roof damage or removal
  • Trees snapped and uprooted, blocking roads
  • Water and electricity unavailable for days or weeks

Category 4

  • Catastrophic damage will occur
  • Sustained winds from 130 to 156 mph
  • Most homes will lose roofs or walls
  • Most trees will be uprooted or snapped and power poles will be downed
  • Power outages can last for months and area can be uninhabitable

Category 5

  • Catastrophic damage will occur
  • Sustained winds of 157 mph or higher
  • Many framed homes will be destroyed with walls collapsing and roofs failing
  • Power poles and trees will be down and isolate residential areas
  • Power outages can last for months

Alubfab USA can help protect your home’s doors and windows during a hurricane. Give us a call to learn more at 239-226-4872.