Monday, August 2, 2010

Weather Resource: The Saffir-Simpson Scale of Hurricane Intensity

The Saffir-Simpson Scale was developed in 1971 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and meteorologist Bob Simpson, who at the time was Director of the National Hurricane Center.  The purpose of the scale is to divide Hurricanes into classes based on the intensity of the sustained winds within the storm.



Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale
CategoryWind speedStorm surge
mph
(km/h)
ft
(m)
Five≥156
(≥250)
>18
(>5.5)
Four131–155
(210–249)
13–18
(4.0–5.5)
Three111–130
(178–209)
9–12
(2.7–3.7)
Two96–110
(154–177)
6–8
(1.8–2.4)
One74–95
(119–153)
4–5
(1.2–1.5)
Additional classifications
Tropical
storm
39–73
(63–117)
0–3
(0–0.9)
Tropical
depression
0–38
(0–62)
0
(0)

By correlating the wind speed, one can also get a fairly good idea as to the amount of storm surge that is likely to be associated with the hurricane, as noted on the chart above.  (Chart was adopted from a related article on Wikipedia found here).




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