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The Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, assigns a numerical classification of hurricanes into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds. The scale spans from Category 1 (winds of at least 74 mph) to Category 5 (exceeding 156 mph). Unlike the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which assigns ratings for tornadoes after damage has been incurred and thoroughly assessed, categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale are assigned to most active cyclones that reach the minimum hurricane threshold, even before landfall.

Category Sustained winds Storm surge Central pressure Potential damage Example(s)
Category 1 33–42 m/s

74–95 mph
64–82 knot
119–153 km/h

4–5 ft

1.2–1.5 m

28.94 inHg

980 mbar

No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage. Jerry (1989)

Ismael (1995)
Danny (1997)
Gaston (2004)

Cateegory 2 43–49 m/s

96–110 mph
83–95 kt
154–177 km/h

6–8 ft

1.8–2.4 m

28.50–28.91 inHg

965–979 mbar

Some roofing material, door, and window damage. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, etc. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected anchorages may break their moorings. Carol (1954)

Diana (1990)
Erin (1995)
Marty (2003)
Juan (2003)

Category 3 50–58 m/s

111–129 mph
96–113 kt
178–209 km/h

9–12 ft

2.7–3.7 m

27.91–28.47 inHg

945–964 mbar

Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, with a minor amount of curtain wall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland. Alma (1966)

Alicia (1983)
Roxanne (1995)
Fran (1996)
Isidore (2002)

Category 4 59–69 m/s

130–156 mph
114–135 kt
210–249 km/h

13–18 ft

4.0–5.5 m

27.17–27.88 inHg

920–944 mbar

More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland. "Galveston" (1900)

Hazel (1954)
Iniki (1992)
Iris (2001)
Charley (2004)

Category 5 ≥70 m/s

≥157 mph
≥136 kt
≥250 km/h

≥19 ft

≥5.5 m

<27.17 inHg

<920 mbar

Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required. "Mexico" (1959)

Camille (1969)
Gilbert (1988)
Andrew (1992)

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