Hurricane Intensity Rating Scale
(Saffir-Simpson Scale>

Page Updated September 08, 1997

Wind Speed
Wind Speed
Minimum Central
Pressure (mb)
Minimum Central
Pressure (inches Mercury)
Category 1 65 - 82 74 - 95 980 and above 28.94 and above
Category 2 83 - 95 96 - 110 965 - 979 28.50 - 28.91
Category 3 96 - 113 111 - 130 945 - 964 27.91 - 28.47
Category 4 114 - 135 131 - 155 920 - 944 27.17 - 27.88
Category 5 135 and greater 155 and greater 919 and lower 27.16 and lower

Hurricanes rated at Category 3 and higher are called "Intense" or "Major" Hurricanes. These storms carry great destructive potential.

Hurricane Andrew was a Category 4 storm at landfall in South Florida, 1992

Hurricane Camille was a Category 5 storm at landfall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969. Almost nothing is left standing after a Category 4 or 5 storm strikes.

The devastation in the wake of a "Cat 5" storm (Camille) is widespread and total. Survivors here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast likened the "bloody morning after" to scenes from the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima. The power and impact of storms of this magnitude leaves a permanent impression of helplessness of the individual in the face of nature's awesome fury. Stories told by surviors of Camille and of civillians who endured bombings and shellings of their cities during wars are strikingly simmilar. Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, events and dates are refered to as "Before Camille" and "After Camille". Camille is forever a defining moment in the lives of those who lived through it. Simillar stories are told by the surviors of Andrew and Hugo (1989), both Category 4 Hurricanes.

Hurricanes are not an excuse for a party, nor are they something to look upon with excitement. If you live in a threatened strike zone, life comes to a screeching halt in the day or two before the storm hits. You may get the day off work or school, but trust those who have been through these before, there are a lot better and easier ways to take a day off work or school! You do not want a vacation day this way, because no Hurricane, no matter where it rates on the above scale, can be considered even remotely as a vacation or holiday. Evacuation from an area threatened by a Category 3, 4 or 5 storm is the only prudent thing to do. For any Hurricane, you should consult your local officals, and follow their guidelines when making your decision. And remember, this may be a life or death decision, and certainly, to attempt to ride out a Category 3, 4 or 5 storm is foolish, and places your life in extreme danger.

We are not exaggerating this, and if anything, we wish our words could be even stronger. Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we have been through the worst Hurricane in recorded history. No words can describe it.

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