If you live in a hurricane-prone city, it’s not enough to know that hurricanes are categorized based on their sustained winds. Instead, it’s crucial to understand what each category means – and the extent of wind damage it can cause.
A closer look at these ratings and categories gives you a better idea of how they can affect your building. Ultimately, it puts you in the best position to safeguard your property and minimize house damage should a hurricane come.
The Different Hurricane Categories and What Damage To Expect With Each
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS)
The SSHWS rating system classifies hurricanes based on their maximum sustained winds. It employs a 1 to 5 rating system, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. One of its primary purposes is to help estimate potential house damage for those along a hurricane’s path.
Category 1 (74-95 mph)
A category 1 hurricane can generate dangerous winds that can cause some damage to buildings. Roofs, shingles, and gutters can be torn off homes, and exterior siding can sustain damage.
Additionally, the high winds can break branches off trees, topple shallowly rooted trees, and launch debris into the air, causing further wind damage to properties and even injury to people.
Category 2 (96-110 mph)
In a category 2 hurricane, significant roof and siding damage can occur due to extremely dangerous winds. The risk of flying debris hitting buildings also increases, and well-constructed frame homes can suffer substantial damage.
Because of the strong winds, shallowly rooted trees can be snapped or uprooted, taking down power lines and blocking roads. As such, there are also chances of a near-total power loss that can last for days in hard-hit areas.
Category 3 (111-129 mph)
A category 3 hurricane is already considered a major hurricane, and its violent winds can cause devastating damage to both residential and commercial buildings. Roof decking and gable ends can be torn off in well-built framed homes.
Many trees can be uprooted, and electricity and water may be unavailable for days to weeks after a hurricane.
Category 4 (130-156 mph)
Category 4 hurricanes can bring catastrophic damage. Even well-built framed homes can lose most of their roof structures and some of their exterior walls.
There is also a much higher risk of further wind damage to properties, as a category 4 hurricane can generate violent winds that can uproot trees and down power poles. The resulting power and water outages and road blockages can make areas uninhabitable for weeks to months.
Category 5 (157 mph or higher)
The last rating on the scale, category 5 is designated to hurricanes that can cause near-total destruction. Homes and buildings in its path can suffer complete roof failure and wall collapse. Moreover, downed trees and power poles can cause road blockage and long-term power and water outages, making the area uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Hurricane Andrew was the most recent category 5 hurricane that made landfall in the U.S. It severely affected South Florida in 1992.
It’s important to note that the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is based solely on a hurricane’s maximum sustained wind speeds. It does not consider storm surges, rainfall flooding, tornadoes, and other potentially deadly hazards.
Also, hurricanes of all levels can cause severe property damage, especially if they are accompanied by heavy rainfall and surges. Because of this, taking appropriate measures to fortify your property is crucial, no matter the intensity of the hurricane headed in your area.
Wind Damage to Your Roof
Roofs can be significantly susceptible to wind damage because of how high winds impact them.
Instead of hitting them uniformly, the wind pulls loose shingles or the edges stronger. So when violent, sustained winds get a hold of curled or exposed shingles, the rest of the roof structure can get easily ripped off within seconds.
Another factor to consider when discussing house and roof damage is the destruction caused by flying debris. Strong winds can set tree branches and even your unsecured patio furniture into the air, hitting your roof in the process.
Eventually, the prolonged exposure to battering winds can create roof leaks that introduce further issues into your home.
After Wind Damage: What’s Next?
The aftermath of a hurricane can be overwhelming to process. In some cases, the destruction may be so severe that you may feel confused and even discouraged. Consider contacting property restoration experts to share your situation and determine the next steps.
Tasks like securing your property, replacing roofing, or cleaning up after a flood can be daunting, but a professional company can handle everything else for you. Certified professionals can restore your home to its former condition, allowing you to sit back and focus on your health and well-being.
Restoration 1 is a licensed restoration company offering storm recovery and wind damage restoration solutions. If you have emergency requests after a hurricane, please don’t hesitate to call us anytime for assistance. Our rapid responders nationwide can mobilize within an hour to assess the damage and start restoring your property.