Tropical Storm


Saffir Kph
Cat1 119-153
Cat2 153-177
Cat3 178-208
Cat4 209-251
Cat5 252+
Fujita Kph
F0 65-115
F1 116-180
F2 181-252
F3 253-331
F4 332-418
F5 419-512
F6 513-826

Are you READY?


Are You SAFE?



Before a storm hits

To prepare for a Tropical Storm, you should take the following measures:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Know your surroundings.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecast.
  • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  • Learn community Tropical Storm evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
  • Make plans to secure your property:
    • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
    • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
    • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
    • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
    • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
    • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
    • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.

During a Tropical Storm

If a Tropical Storm is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities (electricity) if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off LPG tanks.
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after any emergency.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a weak home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during Tropical Storm no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – Tropical Storm winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.

Read more about evacuating yourself and your family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the Tropical Storm and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Avoid elevators.

After a Tropical Storm

Many dangers exist in the catastrophic aftermath of every Tropical Storm. You must observe the following recommendations:

  • Continue listening to Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the Tropical Storm has ended.
  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or check the Emergency Numbers Plan.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

Storm threat scales - Fujita and Saffir-Simpson

Fujita reference suggestion...

When a major cyclonic tropical storm is forecast, the Saffir-Simpson scale is presented to the public: catagory 1 storms are slow wind speed and catagory 5 storms are fast wind speed. The Fujita scale is applied to tornado-like smaller wind swirls that are called mesovortices, in the the larger cyclonic storm. The mesovortex can indicate storm turbulance, in addition to inflicting immediate damage. It is suggested by NCEP that the U.S. population may not be capable of, or perhaps cannot see any purpose, including mesovortices in storm preparedness and management, due to "wind complexity".

The cyclone-generated tornado, technically termed mesovortex, that is a common feature in all major tropical cyclonic storms, is not included in storm warnings, except in Japan and perhaps a few other countries.

"Several methods have been developed to rank meteorological events in terms of severity, social impact, or economic impact. The Fujita scale (Fujita 1981) ranks tornadoes based upon wind damage patterns. The Saffir–Simpson scale ranks hurricanes based upon the maximum wind speed (Simpson 1974). [NCEP]" The Fujita scale is directed at overland tornados, not a tropical storm accumulation. Saffir-Simpson does not separate the mesovortex child events from the parent cyclonic event. Perhaps this uncertainty contributes to the reluctance in many jurisdictions charged with public protection, to report and manage public safety in a manner that can address both cyclonic and tornadic events simultaneously. Wind complexity illustrates just one aspect of geosocial bias that threatens human population."

NCEP continues, "Historically, the storms that are deemed the most significant are those that usually achieve the greatest media attention or impact the largest population centers... This subjectivity is compounded by preparedness issues. A winter storm of a given size or intensity usually has greater impact upon the population at lower latitudes than the same storm would at higher latitudes. Further, the observation network is biased toward the densely populated urban corridors and against rural and oceanic areas. Clearly, the ranking of meteorological phenomena within both the media and the meteorological community is subjective. [NCEP]" Geosocial bias towards Temperate Zone climates effects population centers in modern European colony settlement in the Americas, compounding wind complexity.

We see that Japan consistently and correctly isolates and issues mesovortex warnings, including potential strength and location based on storm quadrant. We can distinguish Japan and U.S. as they report on the same storm, simultaneously (typhoon Faxai, 2019). Storm related "mesovortices" are family evening news in Japan, though only significant related damage would result Wiki mention. Faxai's JTWC and local weather stations reported a Cat 2 typhoon, with F1 activity being "common, criss-crossing in the southwest quadrant", when storm was 20 Km from landfall, as Faxai hit the Ina Islands. Mesovertices dropped to F0 strength as Cat 1 typhoon Faxai passed through Tokyo. Faxai mesovertices did not cause any significant damage.

In sharp contrast, United States weather reports to public completely ignore mesovortex activity. In the United States the mesovortex is not mentioned in the various government and commercial public storm analyses (CNN, CIMSS, and so on), both before, during and after severe storm events (hurricane Dorian, 2019).

Global warming will increase the number and severity of cyclonic tropical storms, and increase human storm impact and awareness, which may also encourage a global shift to universal application of Fujita and Saffir Scales, GROUPED SCALES to report severe cyclonic storm events. In future, rather than storm warnings FAXAI Cat5 / DORIAN CAT 5, we would hopefully see global weather reports issue warnings for FAXAI Cat5 F6 / DORIAN CAT5 F5, or simply FAXAI 5-6 and DORIAN 5-5.

Severe Tropical Storms
Dr. Fujita:
Government meteorology:
AMS Journals
NCEP: National Centers for Environmental Protection