I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for On the Ocean. This week we will take a look at the names and classifications of hurricanes, and what they mean to the people in their paths. To begin, hurricanes are a type of tropical cyclone. In fact, it depends on where the storms are formed as to what they are called locally. The word hurricane is for the Atlantic ocean, the Caribbean sea, and the central and northeast Pacific ocean. Typhoons are formed in the northwest Pacific, and in the South Pacific and Indian oceans, they are called cyclones. No matter the term they all mean the same thing: a very dangerous tropical cyclone. But what, in fact, is the degree of danger for each hurricane? This is where the Saffir-Simpson scale is used. Each hurricane is identified as one of 5 categories, with each category representing a degree of wind speed. Category one is windspeed of above 74 miles an hour and is classified as very dangerous winds, with the threat of power outages for days. Category 2 is above 96 miles per hour winds and is classified as extremely dangerous winds, with power outages for possibly many days. Category 3 is classified as above 111 mile an hour winds and devastating damage that can cause power outages for up to several weeks. Category 4 is classified as winds above 130 miles an hour and listed as catastrophic damage occurring, including power outages expected for many weeks. Finally, category 5 is listed as above 157 mile an hour winds, with catastrophic damage including power losses for weeks to months, and can cause the area to be uninhabitable. However, even a category 1 hurricane is meant for evacuation, as all categories have the potential to be deadly. Storms are named if they reach tropical storm strength, and go in alphabetical order. The names are chosen from one of 6 existing lists, with one list being used each year. This has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to ocean.tamu.edu and click On the Ocean.
More Information and Links:
Contributing Professor: Dr. Courtney Schumacher
Information/Preparing for Hurricanes:
REALLY cool satellite images: