New Hurricane Classification System Can Better Assess the Human Experience

September 27, 2006

The loss of life and homes due to Hurricane Katrina was a monumental blow. A new study introduces a new scale in which to classify hurricanes—by postlandfall measurements—that could aid in future decision-making, and hopefully, reduce the number of victims. The study is published in the latest issue of Journal of Coastal Research.

Most Americans know and use the Saffir-Simpson (SS) scale to classify hurricanes in which a number from 1 to 5 is assigned. The SS scale works to evaluate winds and storm surge over open water in the prelandfall window, but fails to accurately account for the observed impacts over land, said Jason Senkbeil and Scott Sheridan, another ´´S-S´´ duo who have created a new postlandfall Hurricane Classification System (HCS). This system categorizes hurricanes using six variables—open water storm surge, rainfall, duration of hurricane force winds, maximum sustained winds, gust score, and minimum central pressure.

The HCS focuses on the observed storm intensity over land, and in turn, the human experience. This variation to the SS scale was made to reflect the changing emphasis of hurricane damage. Over the last 50 years, coastal population growth and increased property development have lead to a rise in monetary damage from hurricanes. And while the potential loss of life is always a concern, the increasing property destruction suggests a shift from fatality prevention to the protection of property.

People need to understand the severity of the storm postlandfall to know if their evacuation or preparation decisions were warranted based on the observed damage at their individual locales, said the study’s authors. Senkbeil and Sheridan evaluated 41 hurricanes from 1960 to 2004 using their new scale. From these evaluations, the public can better assess evacuation decisions in the future. While the HCS isn’t meant to replace the standard SS scale, it will reconcile the differences between forecasted and observed intensity.

To read the entire study, click here: www.allenpress.com/pdf/coas_22_518_1025_1034.pdf

Source: Alliance Communications Group

Explore further: The peculiarities of the huge equatorial jet stream in Saturn's atmosphere revealed

Related Stories

NASA looks at major Hurricane Matthew's winds, clouds

October 7, 2016

As Hurricane Matthew continues to crawl along the southeastern U.S. coast NASA observed the storm's winds, clouds, precipitation and more. Matthew remained a major hurricane on Friday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. EDT.

Where is the science of Zika virus control?

October 19, 2016

Zika virus infection is a devastating disease for its association with neurological disorders (Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly). For the last few months Zika virus has spread at a rapid pace over the continent of ...

Recommended for you

New studies take a second look at coral bleaching culprit

December 7, 2016

Scientists have called superoxide out as the main culprit behind coral bleaching: The idea is that as this toxin build up inside coral cells, the corals fight back by ejecting the tiny energy- and color-producing algae living ...

Cosmic dust found in city rooftop gutters

December 7, 2016

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers with Imperial College London, the Natural History Museum in London, Project Stardust in Norway and Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, has found samples of cosmic dust in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.