Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale

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Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale
Category Wind speed Storm surge
mph
(km/h)
ft
(m)
5 ≥156
(≥250)
>18 (>5.5)
4 131–155
(210–249)
13–18
(4.0–5.5)
3 111–130
(178–209)
9–12
(2.7–3.7)
2 96–110
(154–177)
6–8
(1.8–2.4)
1 74–95
(119–153)
4–5
(1.2–1.5)
Additional classifications
Tropical
storm
39–73
(63–117)
0–3
(0–0.9)
Tropical
depression
0–38
(0–62)
0
(0)

The Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale is a scale that is used to sort tropical cyclones in the Western Hemisphere. It is only used for storms that are stronger than "tropical storms", and become actual hurricanes. The categories into which the scale separates hurricanes are noted by the strength of their maximum sustained wind speeds. The classifications are used mainly for use in measuring the possible damage and flooding a hurricane will create when it makes landfall.

Very recently, the scale was also used to classify subtropical cyclones after a change in the rules made by the National Hurricane Center in 2002.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is used only to describe hurricanes that form in the Atlantic Ocean and northern Pacific Ocean, to the east of the International Date Line. Other areas call their tropical storms "cyclones" and "typhoons", and use their own classification scales. In Australia hurricanes were called willy-willies.