Overview and History

From June 1 to November 30, Florida is threatened by Tropical Cyclones. A Tropical Cyclone is a low-pressure weather system that has organized thunderstorms around a center of circulation.

Tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of less than 39mph are known as tropical depressions. Once sustained winds reach 39mph and above, the system becomes a tropical cyclone and will receive a name by the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical cyclones can turn into hurricanes when sustained winds reach 74mph and above. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating, or category, based on a hurricane’s maximum sustained winds. The higher the category, the greater for a hurricane’s potential for damage:

Category

Sustained Winds

Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds

1

74-95 mph

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, and 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.

2

96-110 mph

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

3
(major)

111-129 mph

Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

4
(major)

130-156 mph

Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Power outages will last weeks to months. Areas will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

5
(major)

157 mph or higher

Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.