Hurricanes get their rating from the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale that measures the potential property damage a hurricane could cause. The scale ranges from one to five, with Category 3-5 hurricanes classified as major hurricanes.
Category 1 hurricanes require sustained winds between 74-95 mph. Although these hurricanes are at the bottom of the scale, they still can produce plenty of damage. Things at risk of being destroyed include roof, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters. Large tree branches are at risk of being snapped and power poles can be destroyed, putting many without power for a few days.
A Category 2 hurricane has sustained winds of 96-100 mph. These strong winds can cause extensive damage to roofs and siding. Shallow trees can be uprooted and block roads. Power poles and lines will be completely destroyed, putting customers without power for several days to a few weeks.
Category 3 hurricanes take on the major status with sustained winds 111-129 mph. Devastating damage is possible with these hurricanes, including major damage or the removal of large sections of roofing. Large trees will be uprooted, making road travel quite impossible. Water and electricity will be unavailable for residents for up to a few days to several weeks after the storm passes.
A Category 4 hurricane, also major, has sustained winds of 130-156 mph. These types of storms produce catastrophic damage to entire roofs and exterior walls. With trees uprooted and power poles and lines downed, residents will be isolated. Power outages and no running water could last a couple weeks to a month, deeming the area uninhabitable.
The last on the scale is a Category 5 hurricane, which without a doubt is a major hurricane. Catastrophic damage occurs with sustained winds of 157 mph or higher. Most of the homes in the affected areas will receive total frame damage, roof loss, and wall collapse. Downed trees and power poles will make traveling impossible in or out of these areas. Power outages can last for several months, deeming the destroyed area uninhabitable for an extensive amount of time.