Hurricane Matthew has come and gone while leaving millions without power and a long cleanup ahead. Its effects can still be seen, and people are still trying to recover from the damage it caused. Matthew made its way through the Bahamas as a Category 4 hurricane, then continued its towards the eastern coast of Florida. While slowly losing momentum, Hurricane Matthew battered the east coast while going from a severe Category 4 storm to a significant Category 1 hurricane by the time it reached North Carolina.
It’s important to understand the magnitude of these storms and the destruction they can cause. The Saffir-Simpson Scale rates hurricanes based on their severity on a 1 to 5 scale. This Hurricane Intensity Scale effectively demonstrates the wind damage associated with each hurricane category.
Category 1 (74-95 MPH)
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, 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.
Category 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.
Category 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.
Category 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.
Category 5 (157+ MPH)
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.
Many people underestimate the strength and power of hurricanes and even storms in general. It is important you take necessary precautions to prepare for a severe storm. While this year’s hurricane season is shortly coming to an end, you still want to make sure you are prepared in the chance one comes your way.