Cyclones are tropical storms that form over warm ocean waters and can cause significant damage to coastal areas. Cyclones are classified into categories based on their wind speed, which is the primary factor that determines their destructive potential. The two most commonly used classification systems are the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale and the Australian Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale.
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale categorizes cyclones into five categories based on sustained wind speeds:
- Category 1: 74-95 mph (119-153 km/h)
- Category 2: 96-110 mph (154-177 km/h)
- Category 3: 111-129 mph (178-208 km/h)
- Category 4: 130-156 mph (209-251 km/h)
- Category 5: 157 mph or higher (252 km/h or higher)
The Australian Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale categorizes cyclones into five categories based on maximum wind gusts:
- Category 1: 63-87 km/h (39-54 mph)
- Category 2: 88-117 km/h (55-73 mph)
- Category 3: 118-159 km/h (74-99 mph)
- Category 4: 160-200 km/h (100-124 mph)
- Category 5: 200 km/h or higher (124 mph or higher)
It's important to note that the two scales use different wind speed ranges and criteria, so a cyclone classified as a Category 5 under one scale may be classified as a different category under the other scale.