Ian Becomes a Hurricane, Has Its Eye on Florida
Florida is getting ready for what could be a devastating hurricane.
Tropical Storm Ian intensified Monday morning and is now a Category 1 Hurricane as it currently sits about 90 miles west-southwest of Grand Cayman Island and 275 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba. Accuweather.com reports Ian has sustained winds of up to 75 mph but the storm is expected to further intensify into a "behemoth" system.
Projections say Hurricane Ian could strengthen to Category 4 status. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale gives hurricanes five categories. Weather.gov uses the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale to explain the wind speeds and the probable damage caused by each one:
- Category One Hurricane: Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr). Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
- Category Two Hurricane: Winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt or 154-177 km/hr). Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
- Category Three Hurricane: Winds 111-129 mph (96-112 kt or 178-208 km/hr). Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
- Category Four Hurricane: Winds 130-156 mph (113-136 kt or 209-251 km/hr). Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
- Category Five Hurricane: Winds 157 mph or higher (137 kt or higher or 252 km/hr or higher). Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
By the way, Hurricane Ida was a devastating Category 4 storm that slammed Southeast Louisiana in late August of 2021. Now, it's Florida preparing for what could be a hurricane to remember.