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Hurricane Information for the State of Florida

Hurricane Wind Rating

Category

Sustained Winds

Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds

1

74-95 mph

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, and vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

2

96-110 mph

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

3

111-129 mph

Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

4

130-156 mph

Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

5

157 mph or higher

Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.


What is a hurricane and how is it formed?
Hurricanes begin as tropical storms over the warm moist waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans near the equator. (Near the Phillippines and the China Sea, hurricanes are called typhoons.) As the moisture evaporates it rises until enormous amounts of heated moist air are twisted high in the atmosphere.

What makes hurricanes so dangerous?
As a hurricane's winds spiral around and around the storm, they push water into a mound at the storm's center. This mound of water becomes dangerous when the storm reaches land because it causes flooding along the coast. ... A hurricane will cause more storm surge in areas where the ocean floor slopes gradually.

Do hurricanes come from Africa?
Atlantic hurricanes seldom directly affect West Africa, the Cape Verde Islands, or the Canary Islands, since easterly winds carry the storms away from land, and most Atlantic storms that move off the African coast tend to be weak.

Stages of a Hurricane
A TROPICAL DISTURBANCE is the first stage of development of a hurricane. It consists of a mass of thunderstorms that have only a slight wind circulation. The tropical disturbance becomes a tropical depression when the winds increase to more than 20 knots or 23 miles per hour.
A TROPICAL DEPRESSION forms when a group of thunderstorms comes together under the right atmospheric conditions for a certain length of time. Winds near the center of the tropical depression are constantly between 20 and 34 knots (23 - 39 mph). Lowered pressure is indicated with at least one closed isobar on a surface pressure chart. Also, the organized circulation of wind in the center of the thunderstorms is detected.
A TROPICAL STORM forms when the maximum sustained winds have intensified to between 35-64 knots (39-73 mph). It becomes better organized and begins to look like a hurricane with a circular shape. At this point, the storm is given a name. Most of the problems from tropical storms come from heavy rainfall.
A HURRICANE finally forms when surface pressures continue to drop and when sustained wind speeds reach 64 knots (74 mph). There is also a definite rotation about the eye.




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