Author: Oliver Milman

Hurricanes becoming so strong that new category needed, study says

Source(s): Guardian, the (UK)


Over the past decade, five storms would have been classed at this new category 6 strength, researchers said, which would include all hurricanes with sustained winds of 192mph or more. Such mega-hurricanes are becoming more likely due to global heating, studies have found, due to the warming of the oceans and atmosphere.


Category 5 storms have caused spectacular damage in recent years – such as Hurricane Katrina’s ravaging of New Orleans in 2005 and Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact upon Puerto Rico in 2017 – but the new study argues there is now a class of even more extreme storms that demands its own category.

They include Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people in the Philippines in 2013, and Hurricane Patricia, which reached a top speed of 215mph when it formed near Mexico in 2015.


Wehner said the Saffir-Simpson scale was an imperfect measure of the dangers posed to people by a hurricane, which mostly come via severe rainfall and coastal flooding rather than the strong winds themselves, but that a category 6 would highlight the heightened risks brought by the climate crisis. “Our main purpose is to raise awareness that climate change is affecting the most intense storms,” he said.


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