Minor adjustment coming to hurricane wind scale

March 27, 2012

(AP) -- Government forecasters are making minor changes to several of the categories in the system for describing hurricane strength.

The Saffir-Simpson ranks hurricanes in five categories based on their .

The says an adjustment is needed to ensure the smooth conversion of units of wind speed measurement for public advisories.

The change broadens the Category 4 wind speed range to 130-156 mph, instead of 131-155 mph. That shifts the Category 3 range to 111-129 mph, instead of 111-130 mph.

Category 5 hurricanes will have top winds of 157 mph or higher, instead of a threshold of 156 mph.

Categories 1 and 2 remain unchanged. No historical storm records will be altered.

The change takes effect May 15.

Explore further: Wilma wreaked havoc with weaker winds

More information: affir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php


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