Data classification exists everywhere, even in the weather. This interesting take on classification came to us from NBC2 out of Florida, in their article, “Weather Blog: How hurricanes are classified.”

The most recent hurricane (Matthew) provided a perfect example of a rapid amplification from a tropical storm to category 5 hurricane in less than 40 hours. This highlighted the importance of knowing how hurricanes are classified and why such an increase in strength is significant.

The Saffir-Simpson Scale is the global standard on ranking hurricanes using a simple one to five measurement. The scale takes into account the maximum sustained wind speed observed inside a hurricane. Using groupings of set wind speeds, the scale offers the public a way to process the strength of an impending system and how to prepare for its arrival.

No two hurricanes are alike. The Saffir-Simpson Scale only accounts for the speed of a hurricane’s wind. It is important to note that the amount, severity and depth of storm surge as a result of the winds are not taken into consideration with hurricane classifications.

Melody K. Smith

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