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Tropics Topics: The Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale

The Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale categorizes tropical storms and hurricanes, by wind speed. It does not address other hurricane hazards, like storm surge.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — You know the Saffir-Simpson scale well, already.  When we refer to a tropical system as a tropical storm or certain category hurricane, we are referring to the wind designated by this scale.  It's important to note that this scale is solely a wind scale.  It does not address other hurricane hazards, like storm surge.

Storms are considered major hurricanes when winds reach 111 mph - a category 3 storm.  A didn't include tropical storms on the graphic below, but a tropical storm is designated when a tropical system attains a central area of low pressure with winds of between 39-74 mph.

Credit: kiii

Special note: Robert Simpson (name on this scale) was born in Corpus Christi in 1912 and went through the deadly hurricane of 1919.  If I had to guess, I'd say that storm triggered a passion for weather and helped lead Simpson into a career in meteorology.

Holt, out.