The AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Hurricanes categorizes storms on a six-point scale. Like the Saffir-Simpson scale, the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Hurricanes uses a 1 to 5 rating, but also includes an additional rating of “Less than 1.” The “Less than 1” score provides insight on hurricanes and tropical storms that don’t rise to a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Storms designated with this rating may still cause substantial destruction, injury or loss of life.
The AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Hurricanes is based on a variety of contributing factors, such as flooding rainfall - including inland flooding - high winds and storm surge, as well as the total damage and economic loss from the storm, rather than simply wind speed. On average, factors such as inland flooding and storm surge are more likely to result in deaths and property damage than wind speed alone. As a result, this unique scale better communicates a more comprehensive representation of a storm’s potential impact on lives and livelihoods so people and businesses can make better decisions when dangerous tropical weather threatens. And we are the only weather provider to offer this differentiated six-point scale.
AccuWeather RealImpact Scale
At least one of these impacts:
<1 — Limited damage from wind and rain. Coastal inundation resulting in some property damage
1 — Localized flooding, damage to unanchored mobile homes, vegetation and signs. Localized power outages. Coastal inundation resulting in some property damage
2 — Moderate flooding. Signifiant wind damage to small buildings/mobile homes and trees. Power outages. Significant property damage from coastal inundation
3 — Widespread and substantial flooding. Structural damage to building, especially mobile homes. Trees down. Power outages. Major coastal inundation
4 — Widespread catastrophic flooding. Flooding may last days to weeks. Widespread power outages. Structural damage to many buildings, especially near the coast. Severe coastal inundation
5 — Widespread catastrophic flooding including major population centers. Flooding may last days to weeks. Widespread structural damage to buildings, power outages and trees down. Catastrophic inundation in populated areas. Coastline altered and may take years or longer to recover