The video above shows the damage that wind speed in a hurricane can cause, depending on the storm’s category. With Hurricane Irma heading to southern Florida as a Category 5 storm, residents all over the state, especially in the Miami area, are preparing for torrential rains and catastrophic winds. Irma has been relentless as she blew over several Caribbean islands and she isn’t slowing down much in the coming days.
As southern Florida and its east coast braces for impact, many residents are wondering what to expect from a Category 5 or a Category 4 storm. For starters, the categories are based on a storm’s sustained wind speed. For days, Irma has been at 185 mph. That is essentially like having a tornado spiraling directly over your house.
According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a Category 5 hurricane is considered “major” and has sustained winds over 157 mph. A Category 4 storm, which is what the east coast of Florida will likely see, is also considered “major” with sustained winds of 130 – 156 mph.
As Irma moves up Florida’s east coast, she is expected to weaken to a Category 3 as she approaches Jacksonville. A Category 3 storm can still do a lot of damage, as you can see in the video above. A storm in this category has sustained winds ranging from 111-129 mph. A Category 2 storm has winds ranging from 96-110 mph.
As Irma moves from Florida, she may head to South Carolina. By that time, she is expected to be a Category 1 with winds ranging from 74 – 95 mph, which can and will still cause damage and power outages.
“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.”