The Saffir-Simpson Scale classifies hurricanes by maximum sustained winds. However, please keep in mind a storm may have stronger wind gusts.
Categories 1 through 5:
- Category 1: 74 to 95 MPH sustained wind speed
- Category 2: 96 to 110 MPH sustained wind speed
- Category 3: 111 to 129 MPH sustained wind speed
- Category 4: 130 to 156 MPH sustained wind speed
- Category 5: Over 157 MPH sustained wind speed
These categories only highlight potential damage and impacts form the wind. This does not address other potential hurricane related impacts, such as storm surge, flooding, and tornadoes.
Please also be mindful to not classify a storm by “just a category X.” There are many variables which can affect the severity of a hurricane such as if it is arrives at high tide. If a Category 1 arrives at high tide, flooding could be predicted past Highway 170 in the greater Bluffton area. Remember, many factors are in a hurricane equation and each storm and its potential damage is unique. It is always best to err on the side of safety than to take a cavalier attitude towards hurricanes and tropical storms.