What is the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale?

Posted June 6th, 2019 by EverQuote staff

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a way to categorize hurricane wind intensity on a scale of 1 to 5. It also provides descriptions about the damage you’ll see at each level.

The scale was originally created by wind engineer Herb Saffir and meteorologist Bob Simpson in the early 1970s.

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, consider the options for hurricane insurance to make sure you have the right combination of policies to protect your property.

Infogaphic: Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

But what about water?

Some argue that the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale should be abandoned because it categories storms solely on wind, when water damage often causes the most devastation. The scale does not account for either coastal storm surges or heavy precipitation. For example, in 2017, Hurricane Harvey came ashore in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane. But it stayed in the area for days, dumping 60 inches of rain in the Houston area and causing catastrophic flooding.