Five Categories of Mayhem
Hurricanes today are rated on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which places them
into five categories according to wind speed. But the scale has been
criticized for not accounting for rainfall totals, which can cause
significant damage. Some atmospheric scientists have lobbied for a sixth
category for even stronger storms, but there’s no official consensus on the
Category 1 74-95 mph (Hurricane Isaac in 2012): Damage to roofs and windows. Shallow
trees might be uprooted. Power outages are likely.
Category 2 96-110 (Hurricane Arthur in 2014): Flying debris poses a substantial risk
to people and livestock. Mobile homes likely sustain heavy damage, and
unreinforced masonry walls can tumble. Widespread power outages.
Category 3 111-129 (Hurricane Otto in 2016): Even well-built homes can suffer
extensive damage, while older metal and brick buildings might topple. Most
high-rise buildings will have shattered windows, and blackouts…
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