What Does Hurricane Category Mean? Explaining The Numbers Behind The Storms

Windspeed determines category, but sometimes flooding causes even more damage.

NOAA / Getty Images

Windspeed determines category, but sometimes flooding causes even more damage.

As Hurricane Florence makes landfall today, talk is of what category the storm will end up being when it hits.

According to an ABC 11 report, hurricanes are rated by categories numbered one through five, and each number has a different wind speed associated with the lowest being the least strong and the highest rating being the strongest, most devastating.

Category 1 storms contain wind speeds from 74 to 95 MPH while winds associated with Category 2 hurricanes range from 96 to 110 MPH. Hurricanes that reach Category 3 will clock in at 111 to 129 MPH winds, Category 4 is 130 to 156, and the most devastating, Category 5 has wind whipping around at 157 MPH and higher.

Florence, which is barreling down on the coasts of the Carolinas today became a Category 4 over the Atlantic Ocean. Since the winds have slowed as this storm approaches the United States, it has most recently been considered a Category 2, but meteorologists still expect monstrous devastation as the storm surge hits along with flooding, which is predicted to wreak havoc on the region.

According to a CNN report, their meteorologist Chad Myers said, “I don’t care if this goes down to a Category 1. We’re still going to have a Category 4 storm surge.”

Both North and South Carolina can expect a deluge of rain between today and Saturday with an unprecedented 10 trillion gallons of rainfall predicted by the time the rains end. To put that in perspective, the expected 40 inches of water would fill up 15 million Olympic-size swimming pools, which is nearly unimaginable. Unfortunately, instead of swimming pools, the catastrophic pouring will fill up businesses and homes. Last year, Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas with 27 trillion gallons of rain, which broke records.

Officials asked people along the Carolinas coasts to evacuate ahead of the storm, and that time for leaving has nearly passed. “You put your life at risk by staying. Don’t plan to leave once the winds and rains start,” said, Roy Cooper, Governor of North Carolina.

The Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland all declared a state of emergency ahead of the deadly storm with millions of people evacuating North and South Carolina.

Behind the current monstrous hurricane, three others tropical storms exist in the Atlantic including Isaac, Helene, and Joyce. Plus, Hawaii has Hurricane Olivia.

Inquisitr recently reported that scientists expect global warming to help produce even more massive and deadlier hurricanes as temperatures around the world rise causing increases in torrential rains that devastate coastal cities, which aren’t well prepared for such an onslaught of moisture that generates billions in damages.