The Weather Channel has some great information on what the different Categories of Hurricanes will do to your homes. They also explain the Saffir-Simpson scale of windspeed.
With Hurricane Florence predicted to be a Category 3 or 4 when it hits, here are examples of the scale of damage:
Category 3: Devastating Damage Will OccurThere is a high risk of injury or death to people, livestock, and pets due to flying and falling debris. Nearly all pre-1994 mobile homes will be destroyed. Most newer mobile homes will sustain severe damage with potential for complete roof failure and wall collapse.
Poorly constructed frame homes can be destroyed by the removal of the roof and exterior walls. Unprotected windows will be broken by flying debris. Well-built frame homes can experience major damage involving the removal of roof decking and gable ends.
There will be a high percentage of roof covering and siding damage to apartment buildings and industrial buildings. Isolated structural damage to wood or steel framing can occur. Complete failure of older metal buildings is possible, and older unreinforced masonry buildings can collapse.
Numerous windows will be blown out of high-rise buildings resulting in falling glass, which will pose a threat for days to weeks after the storm. Most commercial signage, fences, and canopies will be destroyed. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to a few weeks after the storm passes.
Hurricane Ivan in 2004 is an example of a hurricane that brought Category 3 winds and impacts to coastal portions of Gulf Shores, Alabama with Category 2 conditions experienced elsewhere in this city.
Category 4: Catastrophic Damage Will OccurThere is a very high risk of injury or death to people, livestock, and pets due to flying and falling debris. Nearly all pre-1994 mobile homes will be destroyed. A high percentage of newer mobile homes also will be destroyed.
Poorly constructed homes can sustain complete collapse of all walls as well as the loss of the roof structure. Well-built homes also can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls.
Extensive damage to roof coverings, windows, and doors will occur. Large amounts of windborne debris will be lofted into the air. Windborne debris damage will break most unprotected windows and penetrate some protected windows.
There will be a high percentage of structural damage to the top floors of apartment buildings. Steel frames in older industrial buildings can collapse. There will be a high percentage of collapse to older unreinforced masonry buildings. Most windows will be blown out of high-rise buildings resulting in falling glass, which will pose a threat for days to weeks after the storm.
Nearly all commercial signage, fences, and canopies will be destroyed. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Long-term water shortages will increase human suffering. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Hurricane Charley in 2004 is an example of a hurricane that brought Category 4 winds and impacts to coastal portions of Punta Gorda, Florida with Category 3 conditions experienced elsewhere in the city.
For information on the rest of the categories, go here: