Hurricanes are categorized on a scale from 1 to 5. While Category 5 hurricanes may draw the most attention in headlines, those giant storms may not always pose the greatest threat.
In 2010, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale became the official method for categorizing hurricanes. “It’s a great way to provide shorthand wind risk,” Michael Brennan, branch chief of the Hurricane Specialist Unit at the National Hurricane Center said in an interview with National Geographic.
However, recent data indicates more than 88% of hurricane-related fatalities occur because of factors other than wind, such as storm surge and electrical outages. For example, Hurricane Laura claimed 28 lives when it made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico in 2020. Nearly all of them occurred after the storm had already passed.
So, in some cases, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale can then lure residents of hurricane-prone areas into a false sense of security. In the end, disaster preparedness is pivotal to keeping yourself and your household safe during hurricane season.
“You want to know what your risk is before a storm ever threatens you,” Michael said. “You have to do that analysis and find out if your house is safe, and if not, get somewhere safe.”
To help you stay safe in the event of a hurricane, Convoy of Hope has created a family preparedness guide. It can be found here. Throughout this hurricane season, Convoy of Hope suggests that you stay informed and prepared to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. To donate to Convoy’s Disaster Services team as we respond in times of disaster, click here.