"Hurricanes cause devastating and sometimes deadly damage, with violent winds and heavy rains destroying buildings, inundating both coastal and inland areas, and displacing residents from their communities. Each year, we call attention to the risks hurricanes and tropical storms pose, as well as the steps we can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. During National Hurricane Preparedness Week, we recommit to strengthening the capacity of local responders and creating resilient cities, towns, and neighborhoods that are prepared when disaster strikes." - President Obama
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|* Sustained winds |
A 1-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface.
** 1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour or 1.15 statute miles per hour. Abbreviated as "kt".
An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds* of 38 mph (33 kt**) or less
An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)
An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 kt) or higher
- A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
- A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale for Kids (NASA)
|Scale Number (Category)||Sustained Winds||Damage||Storm Surge|
|74-95 mph |
|Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.||4-5 feet|
|96-110 mph |
|Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.||6-8 feet|
|111-129 mph |
|Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.||9-12 feet|
|130-156 mph |
|Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.||13-18 feet|
|157 mph or higher |
137 kt or higher
252 km/h or higher
|Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.||Greater than 18 feet|
In the following article, we look at the 2014 Hurricane season in review, comparing the forecast to actual results. We also look at NOAA and Colorado State University forecasts for the 2014 Season.
Hurricane Zone tab.