Track and strength of Hurricane Lee Should a Category 6 storm be added?

The idea of ​​stronger Category 5 storms has been floated before

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Hurricane Lee intensified rapidly Friday morning, with wind speeds doubling to 155 mph in just 24 hours. It peaked overnight as a Category 5 hurricane with winds of up to 165 mph, but dropped back to Category 4 before dawn.

Lee was previously forecast to have sustained winds of up to 180 mph, and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said its new Hurricane Prediction and Analysis System was predicting peak intensity of 195-207 mph, but the official forecast calls for Lee to just stick around. . Below Cat 5 through Saturday then begins to weaken and slow.

If Lee continued to enhance his strength, would Class 5 be enough to describe him? Winds of 180 mph are 23 mph more than the Category 5 threshold, which is 157 mph. Do we need to add a Class 6?

Don’t expect to see one any time soon.

What are the categories of hurricanes?

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What are hurricane categories and what do they mean?

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a rating from 1 to 5 based solely on the hurricane’s maximum sustained wind speed. Here’s how to analyze it.

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According to the NHC, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, developed in 1971 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and meteorologist Robert Homer Simpson, is a rating from 1 to 5 based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed.

The scale is designed to measure the potential for significant loss of life and damage. Hurricanes rated Category 3 and above by the NHC are considered major. Categories are:

  • Category 1 hurricane: Continuous wind speeds range from 74 mph to 95 mph. Very serious winds may cause some damage – to roofs, shingles and gutters; Dropping trees. Damaging power lines. This will likely lead to a power outage.
  • Category 2 hurricane: Sustained winds range in speed from 96 mph to 110 mph. Extremely dangerous winds would cause extensive damage – extensive roof damage, upside down trees, uprooted trees, damaged power lines, and potential power outages.
  • Category 3 (major) hurricane.: Continuous winds range in speed from 111 mph to 129 mph. There will be devastating damage – massive roof damage, fallen and uprooted trees, power outages, and water shortages.
  • Category 4 (major) hurricane.: Sustained winds 130 mph to 156 mph. Catastrophic damage will occur – severe damage to roofs and exterior walls, fallen trees, downed utility poles, power outages, and water shortages.
  • Category 5 (major) hurricane.: Sustained winds of 157 mph and above. Catastrophic damage will occur – a high percentage of homes will be destroyed, with complete collapse of roofs and collapse of walls; deciduous trees; fallen electricity poles; Blackouts; Water scarcity.

Since the categories operate in approximately 20 mph increments, why stop at ‘157 mph or higher’?

Will there be a category 6 hurricane?

Despite predictions of a “time traveler” in a viral TikTok video, we’re unlikely to see Category 6 storms described in the news anytime soon. But the idea has been raised before.

In 2006, ABC News reported that some scientists believed Category 6 could identify storms with winds greater than 175 or 180 mph. New Zealand climate scientists put forward the idea in 2018 to reflect the increasing risk of tropical cyclones due to climate change and rising sea temperatures.

“Scientifically, (six) would be a better description of the strength of 200 mph (320 km/h) storms, and it would also better communicate the now well-established finding that climate change makes the strongest storms stronger,” climate scientist Michael Mann said. The director of the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and Media said at the time. He noted that since the scale has been used in a scientific context as much as it is used to assess damage, it makes sense to introduce a new category to describe extremely powerful storms seen over the past few years.

Scientists reportedly revisited the idea in 2017 after Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 185, formed on August 10 of that year.

Former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricane hunter and Weather Underground co-founder Jeff Masters suggested to Scientific American in 2019 that Hurricane Dorian should have been given a Category 6 rating, and there should be a Category 6 rating. 7 for gusts over 210 mph to account for Hurricane Patricia, which peaked with sustained winds of 215 mph in the Pacific Ocean in 2015. For years, Masters co-authored a Weather Underground blog called Category 6.

“It makes sense from a climate change communication standpoint to expand the Saffir-Simpson scale to Category 6 — and Category 7 — to draw attention to this new generation of very intense catastrophic hurricanes that are likely to become increasingly common in the world in the coming decades,” Masters wrote, Although he admitted there was little support from the NHC to increase the scope because Category 5 was already considered catastrophic.

Add category 6 to the Saffir-Simpson scale? Simpson doesn’t think so

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What do hurricane categories mean? The video shows the damage caused by hurricane winds

Hurricane Categories: Winds define a hurricane and everything is based on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This video shows the potential harms

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In 1991, Debbie Iacovelli, a specialist in tropical weather, asked Simpson directly whether he thought a new category should not be added to his open scale.

“I think it’s intangible,” Simpson said. “Because when you have winds over 155 miles per hour, you have enough damage that, if those extreme winds were to linger for up to six seconds on a building, it would cause serious damage no matter how well it was engineered. That could lead to Just blowing out windows, but on the other hand, can actually tear and twist stairwells and elevator shafts, and it’s happened in so many buildings that you can’t even use the elevators after experiencing them.

“So I think it doesn’t matter what happens with winds stronger than 156 mph. That’s why we’re not trying to go higher than that anyway.”

How many Category 5 hurricanes have occurred in the Atlantic Ocean?

Only 40 hurricanes, including Hurricane Lee, have reached Category 5 status since 1924, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricane database. This represents about 2% of Atlantic storms in that time period.

But they’re becoming more common: 20% of Category 5 storms have been in the past seven years. Lee is the eighth Category 5 hurricane since 2016.

What is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean?

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Why forecasters measure the impact of hurricanes by more than just wind speed

While 90% of deaths from hurricanes and tropical storms are caused by water impacts, the traditional method of hurricane category classification is based solely on wind speed.

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Hurricane Allen in 1980 reached maximum sustained winds of 190 mph. The Labor Day Hurricane in 1935, Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, Hurricane Dorian in 2019, and Hurricane Wilma in 2005 reached maximum wind speeds of 185 mph.

Mitch (1998), Rita (2005), and Irma (2017) all made it to 180.

However, hurricane strength is measured by wind speed and lowest atmospheric pressure, and by this measure Hurricane Wilma in 2005 (882 mbar) is the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded to date.

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