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close this bookSurviving the Storms (FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1998, 8 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSafer, Stronger, Smarter
View the documentSeverity of Damage Linked to Wind Speed
View the documentKnow Your Weather Terminology
Open this folder and view contentsHurricane Preparations
View the documentWhat to do Before the Storm Strikes
View the documentFlood Insurance: The Best Protection Money Can Buy
View the documentEmergency Planning Could Save Your Business
Open this folder and view contentsA Boater’s Guide to Hurricane Readiness
View the documentRoofs Most Prone to Wind Damage

Severity of Damage Linked to Wind Speed

The amount of damage you can expect from a hurricane is directly linked to the wind velocity of the storm. Winds in an intense storm may reach a sustained velocity of more than 150 mph with gusts up to 200 mph.

The National Hurricane Center uses the Saffir/Simpson scale that classifies storms into five categories. Here is a summary of possible damage to shorelines and vessels in each case.

CATEGORY 1

Winds 74–95 mph, storm surge four–to–five feet above normal. Flooded low–lying coastal roads, minor pier damage, some small craft in exposed anchorages torn from moorings.

CATEGORY 2

Winds 96–110 mph, storm surge six to–eight feet. Coastal and low–lying roads leading inland flooded two to four hours before the hurricane eye passes over. Piers damaged, marinas flooded, small craft in unprotected anchorages torn from moorings.

CATEGORY 3

Winds 111 - 130 mph, storm surge nine - to - twelve feet. Smaller structures destroyed by coastal flooding; larger structures destroyed by battering waves and floating debris. Low - lying roads leading inland flooded three - to - five hours before the eye passes over.

CATEGORY 4

Winds 131 - 155 mph, storm surge 13 - 18 feet. Flooding of flat terrain up to 10 feet above sea level as far as six miles inland. Major flooding and wave battering damage to lower floors of structures near shore. Low - lying roads leading inland flooded three - to - five hours before the eye passes over. Major beach erosion.

CATEGORY 5

Winds above 155 mph, storm surge more than 18 feet. Major damage to lower floors of all structures less than 15 feet above sea level within 500 yards of shore.

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