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Damage done to homes in Florida by Hurricane Michael. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Hurricanes are classified using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale — a 1 to 5 rating that's based on maximum sustained wind speed, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Background: The scale also assesses potential property damage from strong winds, with "Category 3" hurricanes and higher considered to be "major" hurricanes. The scale was created by Herbert Saffir and Robert Simpson in 1971 and introduced to the public in 1973. It was updated in 2010 to solely reflect wind speed and not storm surge or other factors.

Here's how the categories are broken down:

  • Category 1
    • Winds: 74–95 mph
    • "Very dangerous winds will produce some damage."
    • Example: Hurricane Nate (October 2017), Hurricane Franklin (August 2017)
  • Category 2
    • Winds: 96–110 mph
    • "Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage."
    • Example: Hurricane Arthur (July 2014), Hurricane Ernesto (August 2012)
  • Category 3 (major)
    • Winds: 111–129 mph
    • Damage: "Devastating damage will occur"
    • Example: Hurricane Katrina (Augst 2005), Hurricane Karl (September 2010)
  • Category 4 (major)
    • Winds: 130–156 mph
    • "Catastrophic damage will occur"
    • Example: Hurricane Harvey (August–September 2017), Hurricane Joaquin (September–October 2015)
  • Category 5 (major)
    • Winds: 157 mph and higher
    • "Catastrophic damage will occur"
    • Example: Hurricane Michael (October 2018), Hurricane Andrew (August 1992)

Yes, but: A "hurricane" is the name given to systems that develop over the Atlantic or the eastern Pacific Ocean. Tropical storms that develop in other places can be called "typhoons" or "cyclones" — and the classification practices for those differ slightly.

Context: Even Category 1 hurricanes can kill dozens, given that the greatest threat is water, not wind. This comes both through a storm surge at the coast and heavy inland rains.

  • There is a growing movement within the meteorology community to rethink the Saffir-Simpson scale to take into account other storm characteristics, including size, surge potential and rainfall.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
35 mins ago - Sports

MLB falls out favor with Republicans

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

MLB is the latest sports league to fall out of favor with Republicans following its decision to pull the All-Star Game out of Atlanta.

By the numbers: In mid-March, MLB's net favorability rating among Republicans was 47%, the highest of the four major U.S. sports leagues. Since then, it has plummeted to 12%, dropping the league below the NFL and NHL, according to new data from Morning Consult.

50 mins ago - World

Blinken makes unannounced trip to Afghanistan to sell troop withdrawal

Photo: CARLOS BARRIA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Thursday to meet with the nation's president, Ashraf Ghani, and Abdullah Abdullah, who is representing the Taliban in negotiations, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Blinken sought to reassure the pair that the U.S. will maintain support for the country, despite President Biden's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan starting May 1 and concluding in full by Sept. 11.

Women rise to the top at major media companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several women have been tapped to lead some of the country's largest newsrooms over the past year — a promising sign of progress for an industry that's typically been slow to accept change and embrace diversity.

Driving the news: CBS News executive Kimberly Godwin was named president of ABC News on Wednesday. Godwin will be the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast news division when she takes the helm in May.