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We Need a Better Way to Measure Hurricanes

We Need a Better Way to Measure Hurricanes

The Saffir-Simpson scale relies on wind to categorize a hurricane, but it doesn't account for storm surge or flooding.

We Need a Better Way to Measure Hurricanes

Monday, August 26, 2019 - 15:00

Sofie Bates, Contributor

(Inside Science) -- Meteorologists rank hurricanes from category 1 to 5 based on wind speed. It’s called the Saffir-Simpson scale. And Kyra Bryant, graduate student at Tennessee State University, says we should update it.

That scale doesn’t account for dangers like flooding or storm surge. And as ice melts and sea levels rise, we may see more storms with lower wind speed but lots of rain – the kind of storm that the Saffir-Simpson scale can’t accurately describe.

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Author Bio & Story Archive

Sofie Bates is a science journalist and videographer based in Washington D.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in genetics from the UC Davis and a master’s in science communication from UC Santa Cruz. When she’s not reporting neat science research, she likes to try new recipes, read science fiction novels, and hike with her camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @sciencesofie