NOAA to Use New Hurricane Wind Scale

Monday, February 22, 2010
(Credit: NOAA)

NOAA's National Weather Service will use a new hurricane scale this season called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  The scale keeps the same wind speed ranges as the original Saffir-Simpson Scale for each of the five hurricane categories, but no longer ties specific storm surge and flooding effects to each category.

Herbert Saffir, a consulting engineer, and Robert Simpson, who was director of the National Hurricane Center from 1967 through 1973, developed the original scale which was a useful tool to convey the threats of tropical cyclones. Changes were made to the Saffir-Simpson Scale because storm surge values and associated flooding are dependent on a combination of the storm’s intensity, size, motion and barometric pressure, as well as the depth of the near-shore waters and local topographical features. As a result, storm surge values can be significantly outside the ranges suggested in the original scale.

For example, Hurricane Ike in 2008 was a very large storm that made landfall on the upper Texas coast as a Category 2 hurricane with a peak storm surge of 15 to 20 feet. In contrast, Hurricane Charley struck Southwest Florida in 2004 as a Category 4 hurricane, but produced a peak storm surge of just 6 to 7 feet.

Storm surge forecasts will continue to be included in hurricane advisories and statements issued by the National Hurricane Center and local National Weather Service forecast offices. Beginning with the 2009 hurricane season this information has been expressed in terms of height above ground level giving residents a better understanding of the potential for flooding at their location.

The decision to implement the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale was based, in part, on an assessment of the responses received during a 2009 public comment period. The descriptions of wind impacts in the new scale were updated with assistance from highly respected wind scientists from academia and industry.

"I applaud the NOAA decision to decouple storm surge predictions from the Saffir-Simpson scale,” said Al Goodman, Floodplain Management Bureau director, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Goodman noted that while Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast with top winds of Category 3 strength, its expected and actual storm surge was associated with a higher Category of storm when ranked on the original Saffir-Simpson Scale.

Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

News

Easing US Oil Export Ban Unlikey to Raise Gasoline Prices

A government study on Thursday essentially supported the notion that easing the decades-old restriction on exporting U.S. crude was more likely to lower than raise

Keel Laid, Fabrication Started on 2 Navy Warships

This week, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrated two milestone events for the Arleigh Burke-class program. On October 30, Bath Iron Works held a keel laying

Bulker Arrives to US on Her Maiden Voyage

The Port of Vancouver USA welcomed the Kypros Unity, commanded by Capt. Wilfredo F. Itable of Cyprus, on her maiden voyage Oct. 28. Capt. Itable and his 20-member

 
 
Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3731 sec (3 req/sec)