Florida Hurricane Definitions
HURRICANE WATCH (Sustained winds of at least 74 MPH) are POSSIBLE in the area within 36 hours.
HURRICANE WARNING (Sustained winds of at least 74 MPH) are EXPECTED in your area in 24 hours or less.
CATEGORY 1 (Minimal 74-95 MPH winds) Damage primarily to shrubbery, trees, foliage and unanchored homes; no real damage to other structures; some damage to poorly constructed signs. Low-lying coastal roads inundated, minor pier damage, some small craft in exposed anchorage torn from moorings.
CATEGORY 2 (Moderate 96-110 MPH winds) Considerable damage to shrubbery and tree foliage; some trees blown down. Major damage to exposed mobile homes. Extensive damage to poorly constructed signs. some damage to roofing materials of buildings; some window and door damage. No major damage to buildings. Coastal roads and low-lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water two to four hours before arrival of hurricane center. Considerable damage to piers; marinas flooded. Small craft in unprotected anchorages torn from moorings. Evacuation of some shoreline residences and low-lying areas required.
CATEGORY 3 (Extensive 111-130 MPH winds) Foliage torn from trees; large trees blown down. Many constructed signs blown down. Some damage to roofing materials of buildings; some wind and door damage. Some structural damage to small buildings. Mobile homes destroyed. Serious flooding at coast and many smaller structures near coast destroyed; larger structures near coast damage by battering waves and floating debris. Low-lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water three to five hours before hurricane center arrives. Flat terrain five feet or less above sea level flooded inland eight miles or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences within several blocks of shoreline possibly required.
CATEGORY 4 (Extreme 131-155 MPH winds) Shrubs and trees blown down; all signs down. Extensive damage to roofing materials, window and doors. Complete failures of roofs on many small residences. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Flat terrain 10 feet or less above sea level flooded inland as far as six miles. Major damage to lower floors of structures near shore due to flooding and battering by waves and floating debris. Low-lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water three to five hours before hurricane center arrives. Major erosion of beaches. Massive evacuation of all residences within 500 yards of shore possibly required, and single-story residences within two miles of shore.
CATEGORY 5 (Catastrophic 155+ MPH winds) Shrubs and trees blown down; massive damage to roofs of buildings; all signs down. Very severe and extensive damage to windows and doors. Complete failure of roofs on many residences and industrial buildings. Extensive shattering of glass in windows and doors. Some complete building failures. Small buildings overturned or blown away. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Major damage to lower floors of all structures less than 15 feet above sea level within 500 yards of shore. Low-lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water three to five hours before hurricane center arrives. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within five to 10 miles of shore possibly required.