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Hurricane Categories and What They Mean

Hurricane Categories and What They Mean

Hurricane Categories and What They Mean

With hurricane season upon us, it is time to start preparing your disaster recovery plans just in case a storm decides to head your way. While every storm has its own risks, not every hurricane requires the same level of planning. You need to adjust your disaster plans around the strength of the storm.

We measure hurricane strength with the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a 1-5 categorization that tracks wind speeds. However, do not be fooled by this. Hurricanes bring more than just wind, and to properly prepare for them you must understand how these other aspects of the storms will affect your business.

Category 1 Hurricane

When the winds reach 74 miles per hour, a rotating storm becomes a hurricane. If the sustained winds stay under 96 miles per hour, the storm gets the Category 1 label. Category 1 storms bring minor damage and flooding risks to property, people, and animals. Most protected glass remains intact in these storms. If you have a good back-up generator, you can even continue doing business the day after the storm passes. Otherwise, you might have to deal with an occasional power outage that could last for several days. Hurricane Dolly from 2008 was a Category 1 hurricane.

Category 2 Moderate Hurricane

At 96 miles per hour, the storm is now category 2, and it will stay that way until it tops 100 mph. The winds are now strong enough to both damage to property and injure people. You should pan for flooding in low-lying areas as well. The power outages can last for a few days or a few weeks. You can expect to have to close your business during that time. Hurricane Frances of 2004 was a Category 2 storm.

Category 3 Major Hurricane

Category 3 hurricanes have winds anywhere before 111 and 130 miles per hour and are considered major storms. These storms present significant risks to both life and property – even sturdy buildings. Roads may get blocked, while electricity and water could be unusable for days if not weeks. Flood waters can extend far inland as well. 2004’s Hurricane Ivan was a Category 3 hurricane.

Category 4 Major Hurricane

Category 4 hurricane winds range from 131 to 155 miles per hour. These storms bring catastrophic damage to both life and property, and will require major planning to keep your business running after the storms hit. These storms can rip off roofs and shatter exterior walls, topple trees, and cause massive flooding that can leave an area uninhabitable for weeks or months. Hurricane Charley from 2004 had Category 4 winds.

Category 5 Major Hurricane

Hurricanes do not get worse than category 5. These monster storms, with winds of 155 mph, are why you have disaster recovery plans in the first place. Expect your office building or factory to not exist after one of these storms hit as they often bring total wall roof failure and collapse. Your area could be render uninhabitable for months as well. Hurricane Katrina from 2005 was a Category 5 storm.

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According to the 2016 Hurricane Season Predictions, we could see at least three storms of category 3 or higher. Follow our blog for tips and strategies that will keep your business operating and home protected from whatever nature decides to throw our way.

Hurricane Season is Quickly Approaching – 2016 Predictions

Hurricane Season is Quickly Approaching – 2016 Predictions

The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season is upon us, and things are already not looking good. We already had a named storm in January, Hurricane Alex, and the main season looks like it will be average to above average in severity. While the impacts from the year’s El Nino and La Nina are still up for debate, most experts agree that the 2016 hurricane season will be as active as 2012.

The official start of the 2016 season is June 1 and runs through November 30. In other words, the season is quickly approaching. The experts do not know when these storms will come. All they know is that the hurricanes will happen. They do not even know how strong the storms will get once they hit the coastline. Thus, you must take some precaution and prepare for the coming season. Fortunately, you can use the following predictions to make the appropriate adjustments to your disaster recovery plan.

2016 Hurricane Season as Strong as 2012

It all comes down to what the El Nino and La Nina conditions out in the Pacific are doing. Normally, El Nino kills hurricanes, but, with El Nino weakening, that could change this year. No one really knows how long the transition to La Nina will take, making predictions for more than a week or two questionable at best. However, data from the past six years with similar conditions make most weather scientists agree to the following predictions:

  • 50 percent chance of a major storm hitting the U.S. coast
  • 30percent chance that a major storm will hit the East Coast
  • 29 percent chance for a major storm to hit the Gulf Coast
  • 57 percent chance for a tropical storm to hit the Gulf Coast
  • 41 percent chance that a Category 1 or 2 storm will hit the Gulf Coast

These numbers tell us that the Gulf Coast will get hit by a hurricane this year.We do not know when the storm will hit, but we can look at the predicted storm numbers to get an idea of how many storms will head our way.

Average CSU Weather Channel
Named Storms 12 13 14
Hurricanes 6 6 8
Category 3 or higher 3 2 3

Source: The Weather Channel

While there is no link between the number of storms and the number of landfalls, higher storm numbers make landfall more likely than not. These predictions say we are coming out of the quiet period that reigned for the last couple of years, and you can expect at least one storm hitting the coast somewhere. However, 2016 could still turn out like 2010 which produced 19 storms that never made landfall. The only thing you can do is to prepare yourself and your business for the worse case scenarios and hope you never have to use those plans.

2016 Hurricane Names

Either way, the transition from El Nino to La Nina could change everything. The experts do not know when the change will occur, but they do know it will occur during the hurricane season. This is why you need to pay attention whenever the following storm names start trending this year.

  • Alex
  • Bonnie
  • Colin
  • Danielle
  • Earl
  • Fiona
  • Gaston
  • Hermine
  • Ian
  • Julia
  • Karl
  • Lisa
  • Matthew
  • Nicole
  • Otto
  • Paula
  • Richard
  • Shary
  • Tobias
  • Virginie
  • Walter

Since Hurricane Alex had already formed in January, you could say we entered the 2016 hurricane season early. With the main hurricane season just days away, a new hurricane could pop up as soon as tomorrow or as late as a few weeks from now, and there is already a disturbance out in the Atlantic Ocean. These storms can strike with little warning if you are not prepared for them.

To learn how to prepare for the impending season, follow our blog for tips and strategies that will keep your business operating and homes protected from whatever nature decides to throw our way.


Related Links:

How to Prepare for a Flood (Beyond Flood Insurance)
The Best Flood Barrier on the Market