While storm surge is the most dangerous aspect of a tropical cyclone, and can vary from storm to storm, high wind can create extreme destruction, is easier to forecast and serves as the marker for which hurricanes are rated.
The Saffir-Simpson scale is a rating system of 1-5 based on maximum sustained wind speeds of a hurricane. Research has determined the potential property damage that can be expected by specific wind speeds of a hurricane. Significant loss of life and property is possible with hurricanes of category 3 strength or higher. Any hurricane force winds, 74mph or higher, can create structural damage. Small objects such as signs, housing material and lawn ornaments can become flying projectiles during a hurricane. Furthermore, winds can remain strong even in a tropical cyclone that has moved well-inland.
Tornadoes are another wind related danger associated with hurricanes. Often short-lived and weak, tornadoes are spawned in the outer rain bands of a hurricane, but can occur closer to the eye wall as well. Strong or not, hurricane-produced tornadoes are a deadly threat.
For a complete breakdown of the Saffir-Simpson scale and the types of damage expected with each category visit NOAA's tropical cyclone preparedness guide.
The WBRZ Weather Team will bring you more throughout the week, featuring additional information about tropical cyclones through Hurricane Preparedness Week. You can get much more by also visiting www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/
You can view our one-hour special, "Weathering the Storm" on Sunday, May 31 from 6-7pm on WBRZ News 2.
All through the season, check in with the WBRZ Weather Team on News 2, wbrz.com/weather and please keep up with us on social media for the very latest: