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Hurricane categories explained: What a different storm category means, how wind speed factors in!

After a fairly quiet start, the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season Fully in progress Hurricane Ian makes its way to the United States.

The storm is expected to reach Florida’s west coast or widely by midday Thursday, the Guardian reports. National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Ian is forecast to become a Category 3 Hurricane Monday night and is expected to become a Category 4 hurricane. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency and said storm conditions are “expected to constitute a major disaster.”

How severe is a Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane and what do the different categories mean for people in the storm’s path?

The National Weather Service It uses the Saffir-Simpson Scale, which only measures a hurricane’s sustained wind speeds using a 1 to 5 rating system. This scale provides estimates of potential property damage, according to the NWS.

Category 1 hurricane

The Category 1 hurricane experienced winds of 74-95 miles per hour, according to the NWS.

Its “very dangerous winds” will cause some damage to roofs, wood paneling, vinyl sides and gutters in well-built homes, the NWS said on its website.

“The branches of large trees will break and trees with shallow roots may be brought down,” NWS said. “Severe damage to power lines and poles could potentially lead to blackouts that could last from a few days to several days.”

Hurricane Daniel is seen in this NOAA satellite image.


Hurricane Daniel was First Category 1 Storm of the Season.

Category 2 hurricane

Wind speeds for a Category 2 hurricane are between 96-110 miles per hour. According to the NWS, “dangerous high winds” can cause significant roof and side damage to well-built homes.

“Many shallow rooted trees will be cut down or uprooted and many roads blocked. Almost complete loss of power is expected with outages lasting from several days to weeks,” NWS said.

Category 3-5 storms are considered major hurricanes.

more: How does a hurricane form?

Category 3 hurricane

The NWS said the Category 3 hurricane had sustained winds of 111 to 129 mph, at which “devastating damage will occur.”

“Well-constructed framed homes may cause extensive damage or removal of roof decks and gable ends. Many trees will be cut down or uprooted, blocking many roads. Electricity and water will not be available for several days to weeks after the storm has passed,” according to the agency.

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Homes on Salinas Beach are flooded after Hurricane Fiona’s passing in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Monday, September 19, 2022.

AP Photo / Alejandro Granadillo

Category 4 hurricane

Category 4 storms can cause “catastrophic damage” with winds of 130-156 mph. A Category 4 storm can cause extensive damage to well-built homes, including damaging most exterior roofs and walls.

“Most trees will be cut down or uprooted and electricity poles down. Fallen trees and electricity poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to months possible. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months,” the NWS said in its statement. Category 4 storms website.

Category 5 hurricane

Category 5 hurricanes are the most destructive hurricanes, with sustained winds of at least 157 mph.

“A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with complete collapse of roofs and collapse of walls. Fallen trees and electricity poles will isolate residential areas,” the NWS said. “The power outages will last for weeks, maybe months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

The last Category 5 hurricane to hit the United States was Hurricane Michael, which reached Florida in 2018.

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Firefighter Austin Schlarb conducts a door-to-door search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

ABC News’s William Mansell and Karma Allen contributed to this report.

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