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What to Know About Hurricane Categories
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Hurricane categories may not be able to predict everything, but they can indicate the potential effects a hurricane might cause a local area. Read more.
Hurricanes are powerful storms that can devastate a large area in a matter of minutes. When the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues a hurricane watch or warning, it is important to know what a hurricane category means so that communities would know exactly how to prepare for an incoming storm.

Hurricane categories may not be able to predict everything, but they can indicate the potential effects a hurricane might cause a local area. ServiceMaster of Savannah discusses them below.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

  • The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is used to measure a hurricane's maximum sustained wind speed using a rating of 1 to 5. 
  • The NHC uses this scale for assessing the potential magnitude of a hurricane's impact in order to alert residents and help them prepare their properties ahead of time. 
  • However, the Saffir-Simpson Scale cannot be used to measure the likelihood of hurricane-related hazards such as storm surges, heavy rainfall and tornadoes.

Hurricane Categories

Here are the five categories in the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale and the risks associated with them:

  • Sustained winds ranging from 74 to 95 miles per hour
  • Can produce some property damage, such as roof damage
  • May damage powerlines and poles and cause power outages
  • Winds could destroy older mobile homes
  • Injuries to people and structures from falling debris

  • Sustained winds ranging from 96 to 110 miles per hour
  • Greater risk of injuries to people and structures
  • Major structural damage can be caused by heavy winds and falling debris
  • May uproot shallowly rooted trees
  • Power outages ranging from several days to weeks can be expected

  • Sustained winds ranging from 111 to 129 miles per hour
  • Can cause devastating property damage even to well-constructed homes
  • Many trees will be snapped or uprooted and cause road blocks
  • Water and electricity may not be available for weeks after the initial storm has passed

  • Sustained winds ranging from 130 to 156 miles per hour
  • Can cause catastrophic property damage, such as blown-off roofs, removal of exterior walls and blown-out windows on high-rise buildings
  • Significant risk of injury or death from flying debris 
  • Could collapse some homes
  • Most trees will be uprooted
  • Expected power outages and water shortages
  • May make area uninhabitable from weeks to months

  • Sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or greater
  • Serious risk of injury or death from flying debris
  • May destroy a high percentage of homes and buildings
  • Can cause total roof failure and wall collapse
  • Expected long-term power outages and water shortages
  • Area will be uninhabitable for months

Preparing for a Hurricane

  • Residents of hurricane-prone areas must take necessary steps in advance to prepare their families and properties before a hurricane strikes.
  • Stock up on emergency supplies that can sustain you and your family members for three days or more.
  • Stay updated about any hurricane alerts in your area to prepare as best as you can.

For emergency property damage restoration after a hurricane, ServiceMaster of Savannah is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (912) 244-6966. We provide storm damage restoration service to residential and commercial properties in Savannah, Georgia and surrounding areas.

Don't know what to do next? We do.

Our technicians are licensed, insured and fully bonded to restore your property to pre-loss condition using state-of-the-art equipment, industry-grade cleaning solutions and the latest practices and methods. Contact us today.
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Business details
  • +1 (912) 234-0270
  • 222 E Lathrop Ave, Savannah, GA 31415
We are a full service emergency restoration company with the dedication and community loyalty to be available to our neighbors 24 / 7 with fast response to your call and needs.