The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
A 1-5 rating based on a hurricane's present intensity, used to give an estimate
of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from
a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale,
as storm surge values are highly dependent on the slope of the continental
shelf in the landfall region.
74-95 mph (64-82 knots or 119-153 km/hr) - Storm surge generally
4-5 ft above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage
primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage
to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal road flooding and
minor pier damage.
96-110 mph (83-95 knots or 154-177 km/hr) - Storm surge generally
6-8 feet above normal. 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. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours
before arrival of the hurricane center. Small craft in unprotected
anchorages break moorings.
111-130 mph (96-113 knots or 178-209 km/hr) - Storm surge generally
9-12 ft above normal. 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 tress
blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed.
Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival
of the hurricane center. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller
structures with larger structures damaged by battering of floating
debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 ft above mean sea level
may be flooded inland 8 miles (13 km) or more. Evacuation of low-lying
residences with several blocks of the shoreline may be required.
131-155 mph (114-135 knots or 210-249 km/hr) - Storm surge generally
13-18 ft above normal. 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. Low-lying escape routes may
be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the hurricane center.
Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain
lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive
evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).
greater than 155 mph (135 knots or 249 km/hr) - Storm surge generally
greater than 18 ft above normal. 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
blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive
window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising
water 3-5 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Major damage
to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 ft above sea
level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of
residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the
shoreline may be required.