With Hurricane Barry having already made landfall toward Louisiana, there is a lot of speculation as to what kind of storm has happened, and what type of damage that type of storm could incur on a path through any of the different communities it could have hit. This is not an easy question to answer; primarily because these types of storms (hurricanes) can be so unpredictable. The hardest part of this prediction process involves deciphering between the different categories of hurricane, and what each category means for the person having to weather them.
First, it’s essential to know what the hurricane scale actually is and means. Meteorologists generally use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to help out with communicating to the public at large the general magnitude of storm that you can expect. This scale uses classification rated 1 to 5, with five being the most intense, to gauge the intensity of the storm. It should be noted that this scale is not all-inclusive; it doesn’t scale to include any of the after-effects of the storm (things like floods from all of the rainfall, storm surges, or resulting tornadoes).
Below, we will illustrate the difference between the categories number by number.
Category 1: In the lowest tier hurricane, you can expect minimal injuries to animals and residents, with issues usually ending up being restricted to smaller objects the wind causes to fall or fly away. You also tend to see some negligible damage to properties; with general damages including minor power outages and roof damage from fallen trees and broken power cords. Winds in these storms are usually restricted to speeds ranging from 74 to 95 Miles Per Hour.
Category 2: A Category 2 storm would indicate more noticeable and intense damage. Structural (foundation) and external (roofing tiles, windows, etc.), to all framed buildings surrounding the area, should expect to see more damage. The intensity of the winds coming from this category of storm presents a more significant threat level for both people and animals, with speeds expected between 96 and 110 MPH. Power outages can also be far more prevalent, possibly ranging from a span of days to weeks. Water Filtration systems can sometimes even fail, so stocking up on a water source separate from your plumbing system is highly recommended!
Category 3: Category 3 begins marking the more intense of the storm to pass. Make sure to keep track of all of your family members – pets and people! These injuries are often severe and even life-threatening when we reach this magnitude of storm (or anything beyond). It is highly recommended that, if you are attempting to weather the storm, you consider investing in a serious stash of nonperishable food and water. You could expect to see winds torrenting at speeds from 131 to 155 MPH in these conditions as well. Significant damage to businesses and residencies is to be expected, and the more flimsily built or more mobile homes are sometimes even destroyed.
Category 4: It is highly recommended to take shelter for this magnitude storm. Damage to anything exposed (people, animals, and even property) is often cataclysmic! Structural damage to exposed properties will almost definitely occur in these circumstances; you should expect plenty of it in the surrounding area. Wind speeds can reach staggering speeds somewhere between 131 MPH and 155 MPH. You should also expect long-term shortages or utilities like water and electricity, further increasing the necessity of being prepared with food and water in case you become stranded!
Category 5: These storms are the highest intensity on the scale, so it is highly recommended to be far away from anywhere this type of storm is projected to hit! Winds in these types of storms are torrenting at or above 155 MPH. For a frame of reference of how intense these wind speeds actually are, you should expect either substantial or destruction of all buildings and homes within the vicinity of the storm, as well as the vast majority of (if not all) trees within the area to be uprooted and fragmented. You can pretty much expect this location to be uninhabitable for a while, with the primary cause (besides everything looking all destroyed) being long-term power outages and water shortages becoming a regular factor of life until the chaos is resolved and cleaned up.
This should go without saying, but your safety and your families safety should be a top priority in a hurricane situation. You can always replace your possessions and even your home, but a loss of life is something that cannot be fixed! From all of your friends at Phoenix, watch out for Barry, and stay safe!
This blog post was influenced by the following article(s):