Understanding Storms and Hurricanes

Storms and Hurricanes

Since Rapid Restoration Recovery Inc first started in business over a decade ago, we have certainly learned a lot about hurricanes. When we first started, we did not know there was such a thing as a hurricane category scale.

In recent years, storm damage repairs have become one of our most requested services. We are going to talk about the damage storms and hurricanes can do to buildings on this page, but first, let us explain more about the hurricane category scale.

What Is The Difference Between a Storm and a Hurricane?

There is one main factor that differentiates a storm and a hurricane and that is sustained wind speed. Storms have sustained wind speeds of 37 – 73 miles per hour. A hurricane has sustained wind speeds of 74 miles per hour.

What Causes The Damage?

It is not only the hurricane-force winds that cause damage. Most hurricanes on the hurricane scale also drive large walls of water in front of them. This leads to flooding and water damage.

Can you stop the water? Unless you protect your property, it is more or less impossible to stop the water that comes with hurricanes.

In our experience as a storm and water restoration service, flood water carries debris with them. In a worst-case scenario, flood waters can carry biohazards including sewage and other deposits which can endanger life.

After storm damage, we never recommend our clients return home until their property has been completely sanitized and deep cleaned.

The 7 Stages of Hurricane Formation

Tropical cyclones that make it onto the hurricane category scale do not form overnight. If you like, there is a build-up process involved. With the help of satellite technology, we are getting better and predicting how a hurricane is going to “develop.” Once a hurricane has reached its formation, estimating wind speeds and potential damage is easier.

The 7 stages of hurricane formation are:

  • Disturbance Formation
  • Tropical Disturbance
  • Tropical Depression
  • Tropical Storm
  • Hurricane
  • Dissipation

It is only after the final stage of dissipation, companies such as Rapid Restoration Recovery Inc can go in and start the clear-up work after the hurricane.

How Are Hurricanes Rated?

Just like earthquakes, hurricanes have a rating system. It is called the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Most of the time, it is simply called the Hurricane Scale or Hurricane Category Scale.

The hurricane scale rates hurricanes from 1 – 5 with 5 being the most severe category on the scale.

This is will give you a brief insight into the hurricane category scale:

  • Hurricane Grade 1 Sustained Wind Speeds of 74 – 95 mph
  • Hurricane Grade 2 Sustained Wind Speeds of 96 – 110 mph
  • Hurricane Grade 3 Sustained Wind Speeds of 111 – 129 mph
  • Hurricane Grade 4 Sustained Wind Speeds of 130 – 156 mph
  • Hurricane Grade 5 Sustained Wind Speeds of 157 mph or higher

As you can probably imagine, any hurricane on the hurricane category scale can cause severe damage.

Damage Caused By Hurricanes

Hurricanes cause both long-term and short-term damage.

The results of short-term damage are clearly visible. They include severe wind damage and water damage. But, that is not all. They can also cause fire damage. It surprises many, but fires can start during hurricanes.

Needless to say, hurricanes pose a serious risk to human life. If you can, you should always get out of the path of an approaching hurricane. Yes, it means abandoning your home. If you live in an area with frequent severe storms, it is important to have the best insurance cover you can afford.

Mold and Mildew

Long term risks include mold and mildew outbreaks on your property. If your home has been damaged by flood or rainwater, it is vital that it is professionally dried out.

Opening all of the doors and windows is not enough. After a storm on the hurricane scale, the humidity stays high for a long period of time. When the humidity is over 50% outside of your property, you need to use other industrial drying-out methods including dehumidifiers. 

Mold and mildew spores are common problems after hurricane damage. If your home has been damaged by a storm on the hurricane scale, you should always ask for professional help.

Unseen Damage After a Hurricane Category Scale Event

Is it okay to switch on the light?

After severe storms, you should never just switch on the light. If water has entered the mains, you risk an electrical fire breaking out.

What about the HVAC system? Debris and other materials have almost certainly entered your HVAC system. It is almost next to impossible to recover an HVAC system without cleaning it out using Negative Air Technology after an event on the hurricane scale.

Checking Humidity Levels

Never underestimate how important it is to check humidity levels.

The humidity level in a property gives us lots of valuable information. Most importantly, it tells us how your property is drying out.

How long does the storm damage recovery process take? It is hard to say. As you probably appreciate, it depends on how badly your property has been damaged.

Hurricane and storm damage is very deceiving. Properties that look severely damaged are sometimes easier to recover than properties that appear less damaged. Hidden or hard-to-find damage often takes longer to recover.


If you have experienced property damage, it is best to stay out of the building until it has been declared safe. Once the building is safe, you and your family can return.

There is no denying that the climate is changing. More hurricane-scale events are going to take place in the United States and other parts of the world. For many, severe and fast-changing weather is the new normal.

Storm proofing a home is challenging, but there are many things you can do to make your home and other property stand up to storms better. If you need advice or help with storm damage, please do not hesitate to contact Rapid Restoration Recovery Inc.

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