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Hurricane strength

By Times Staff
Published April 17, 2005

Measuring a hurricane's strength. Click for larger graphic

Hurricanes are classified according to wind speed and flooding. The Saffir-Simpson Scale has been used by meteorologists since 1969 as a way to compare damage tropical storms inflict.


Winds 74 to 95 mph

Storm surge 4 to 5 feet above normal

Damage primarily to trees and unanchored mobile homes; some coastal flooding.


Winds 96 to 110 mph

Storm surge 6 to 8 feet

Some damage to roofs, doors, windows, trees and shrubbery; flooding damage to piers.


Winds 111 to 130 mph

Storm surge 9 to 12 ft.

Some structural damage; large trees blown down; flooding near shoreline and possibly inland; mobile homes destroyed.


Winds 131 to 155 mph

Storm surge 13 to 18 feet

Extensive damage to doors and windows; major damage to lower floors near shore; terrain may be flooded well inland.


More than 155 mph

Storm surge greter than 18 feet

Complete roof failure and some building failures; massive evacuation; flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all shoreline buildings.

Source: National Hurricane Center

[Last modified April 14, 2005, 10:49:09]

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