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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Hurricane Categories Explained

1/28/2022 (Permalink)

Hurricanes are one of the most destructive and terrifying forces of nature that we can experience. Wind and rain can cause devastating damage over huge areas of land and multiple days. Today we wanted to outline for you the different levels of storm categories and the kinds of damage they can cause so that you can be more informed. You’ve likely heard of these categories before but may not necessarily know the criteria for each one. Hurricanes start as a tropical storm and then based off of their wind speed fall under a total of five different categories. Keep in mind that these are JUST wind speed and there are many other damaging factors to hurricanes.

Category One (74-95 mph) - Once a tropical storm reaches wind speeds of over 73mph it is officially considered a hurricane. Homes may experience roof damage, siding damage and might lose their gutters. Tree branches may be snapped and potentially take out powerlines resulting in power outages.

Category Two (96-110 mph) – Category two storms can cause extensive damage. Major roof and siding damage is expected. Many smaller trees will be uprooted or snapped and block roadways. Near total power loss to the affected area is typically expected.

Category Three (111-129 mph) – Cat Three storms are the beginning of what’s considered “major hurricanes.” Homes may experience serious major roof damage or removal of roof decking exposing the inside of your home directly to the elements. Many trees will be snapped and blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for days to weeks after the storm.

Category Four (130-156 mph) – The damage from these storms is catastrophic. Homes can experience complete roof removal and potentially walls as well. MOST trees will be snapped or uprooted and travel on roadways will be near impossible due to the obstructions. Areas affected by storms of this magnitude will likely be uninhabitable for weeks.

Category Five (157 mph and up) – Category five storms are the worst it can get. Homes are likely completely destroyed and collapsed. Fallen trees and powerlines will make residential areas near impossible to get to. Power outages will last for weeks if not months and water will be unavailable for just as long. These areas will be likely uninhabitable for months as the entire infrastructure will need to be rebuilt.

As you can see, just the winds alone from these storms are truly terrifying. Once you consider the other damaging factors of these storms you can start to paint a picture of the magnitude of damage that hurricanes leave in their wake.

Be sure to follow all local and national weather service recommendations if you live in an area where a hurricane is headed towards. It likely will not serve any benefit to you to stay during an evacuation order and just put yourself and your family at risk, as well as make first responders’ jobs more difficult.

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