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Why Hurricane Irma will never be a Category 6
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Why Hurricane Irma will never be a Category 6

Why Hurricane Irma will never be a Category 6
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, as used by the National Hurricane Center

Why Hurricane Irma will never be a Category 6

We all have that far-distant relative who doesn’t quite understand the mechanics of Facebook and other social media platforms. The latest questionable news article to come from that realm of the Internet questions the possibility of Hurricane Irma becoming a category 6 – but it’s total fake news.

As Dennis Feltgen from the National Hurricane Center puts it, “The Cat 6 is a nice title for a movie, but operationally, it doesn’t make any sense.” 

The National Hurricane Center only ranks hurricanes on a scale of 1 to 5. But why is that? 

“At 5, which is 157 miles per hour or higher, you already have catastrophic damage,” Feltgen explains, “It’s done.” 

The NHC uses what is called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to measure tropical cyclones that become stronger than a tropical depression or tropical storm. According to the Associated Press, Robert Simpson designed the scale to mirror the Richter scale that measures earthquakes. 

In an interview, Simpson said there is no reason for a Category 6 on his scale because it was created to measure damage to man-made structures. “when you get up into winds in excess of 155 mph (249 km/h) you have enough damage if that extreme wind sustains itself for as much as six seconds on a building it's going to cause rupturing damages that are serious no matter how well it's engineered."

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