FAQ
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Hurricanes are categorised on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale based on their intensity. The Scale starts at 1, which means there may be minimal damage, and ends at 5, which means there will be catastrophic effects.

The categories and their associated damage levels are:

  • (Category 1) Minimal: damage primarily to shrubbery, trees and foliage; some coastal flooding and possible minor damage to boats.
  • (Category 2) Moderate: considerable damage to trees; some roof, window and door damage; coastal flooding requiring evacuation; damage to boats.
  • (Category 3) Extensive: large trees blown down; structural damage to small buildings; serious flooding near coast; evacuation necessary; coastal structures damaged or destroyed.
  • (Category 4) Extreme: extensive destruction of trees and buildings; large-scale flooding; major damage to low structures within about 450m of shore; possible evacuation from low ground within eight to 16km of shore.
  • (Category 5) Catastrophic: trees down; extensive building damage; coastal area below 3m flooded up to 10km inland; major damages to coastal structures; beaches eroded; massive evacuation near coast. Damage primarily to shrubbery, trees and foliage; some coastal flooding and possible minor damage to boats.

 

The table below illustrates the wind speed and storm surge heights per hurricane category.

 

 

Category

 

Wind speed

 

Damage

 

Storm Surge (ft.)

 

(km/h)

 

(mph)

 

(knots/kn)

 

1

119-153

74-95

64-82

Minimal

4-5

 

2

154-177

96-110

83-95

Moderate

6-8

 

3

178-209

111-130

96-113

Extensive

9-12

 

4

210-249

131-155

114-135

Extreme

13-18

 

5

>250

>156

>136

Catastrophic

>19

 

For further information on hurricanes, you may contact the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM):

2 – 4 Haining Road,

Kingston 5.

Jamaica, W.I.

Toll free: 1-888-225-5637

(876) – 906-9674-5 or (876) – 754-9077-8