ENCORE: Hurricane Categories – The Science

Go Lean Commentary

Category 5

… that term has become one of the most dreaded phases in modern times in the Western Hemisphere, and especially in the Caribbean.

A Category 5 Hurricane – with its maximum sustained winds in excess of 156 miles per hour – is the Sum of All of Our Fears and a Clear & Present Danger. (See the full list of their historicity in the Appendix below). The most powerful one on record featured 215 mph winds – Hurricane Patricia – was just recently in October 2015 off the coast of Mexico.

Hurricanes – tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Pacific Ocean – are the exclusive brand for the Northern Hemisphere. Considering the rotation of the earth, the majority travel East to West, from Africa over to North America. That’s the majority; but the minority is nothing to ignore either.  These can start in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico and travel at will: north, south, east, or west.

Welcome to our Caribbean, the greatest address on the planet!

Hurricanes are our reality. A hurricane is a meteorological phenomena that cannot be ignored; its science is a marvel.

Hurricanes are scientifically measured by the Saffir–Simpson scale. This scale was developed in 1971 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and meteorologist Robert Simpson, who at the time was director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).[1] The scale was introduced to the general public in 1973,[2] and saw widespread use after a new Director Neil Frank replaced Mr. Simpson in 1974 at the helm of the NHC, as a tribute to Mr. Simpson.[3]

See full details on this hurricane scale here:

Title: Saffir–Simpson Scale
The Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, formerly the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale (SSHS), classifies hurricanes –Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of tropical depressions, and tropical storms – into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds. To be classified as a hurricane,  a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of:

  • 74–95 mph –  Category 1.
  • 96–110 mph – Category 2.
  • 111–129 mph – Category 3.
  • 130–156 mph – Category 4.
  • ≥ 157 mph – Category 5.

So the highest classification in the scale, Category 5, is reserved for storms with winds exceeding 156 mph (70 m/s; 136 kn; 251 km/h). [There have been a number of these since 1924. See full list in the Appendix below].

The classifications can provide some indication of the potential damage and flooding a hurricane will cause upon landfall.

Officially, the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale is used only to describe hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean and northern Pacific Ocean east of the International Date Line. Other areas use different scales to label these storms, which are called “cyclones” or “typhoons“, depending on the area.

There is some criticism of the SSHS for not taking rain, storm surge, and other important factors into consideration, but SSHS defenders say that part of the goal of SSHS is to be straightforward and simple to understand.
Source: Wikipedia Online Reference – Retrieved October 7, 2016 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir%E2%80%93Simpson_scale

We are thankful to these two pioneering scientists, Mr. Saffir and Mr. Simpson; they lived full and impactful lives – R.I.P..

Mr. Simpson died on December 18, 2014 at age 102.

Mr. Saffir died on November 21, 2007 at age 90.

These scientists have given us the numbers 1 through 5 to indicate an extent of our misery. But misery is more than just a number. Misery is an experience; an unpleasant one. See here the VIDEO visually depicting damage along the Saffir-Simpson scale:

VIDEO – Why Hurricane Categories Make a Difference – https://youtu.be/lqfExHpvLRY

Published on Aug 8, 2013 – During a hurricane you usually hear meteorologists refer to its intensity by categories. If you don’t know the difference between a category 1 and a category 5 hurricane, The Weather Channel meteorologist Mark Elliot breaks it down for you.

Hurricanes are reminders that “Crap Happens“. They affect the everyday life for everyday people. This discussion is presented in conjunction with the book Go Lean … Caribbean. It addresses the challenges facing life in the Caribbean and then presents strategies, tactics and implementations for optimizing the regional community.

Hurricanes are a product of ‘Mother Nature’ – natural disasters – but communities can be more efficient and effective in mitigating the risks associated with these natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, forest fires, etc.). In addition, there are bacterial & viral pandemics. Lastly, there are industrial incidents (chemical & oil spills) and other man-made disasters: i.e. terrorism-related events.

The Go Lean book asserts that bad things (and bad actors), like hurricanes, will always emerge to disrupt the peace and harmony in communities. Crap Happens … therefore all Caribbean member-states need to be “on guard” and prepared for this possibility. The Go Lean book (Page 23) prepares the Caribbean for many modes of “bad things/actors” with proactive and reactive mitigations. This point is pronounced early in the book with the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12) that claims:

i. Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

ii. Whereas the natural formation of the landmass for our lands constitutes some extreme seismic activity, it is our responsibility and ours alone to provide, protect and promote our society to coexist, prepare and recover from the realities of nature’s occurrences.

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

So the Go Lean book relates that the Caribbean must appoint “new guards”, or a security apparatus, to ensure public safety and to include many strategies, tactics and implementations considered “best-practices” for Emergency Management (Preparation and Response). We must be on a constant vigil against these “bad actors”, man-made or natural. The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).

The Go Lean/CU roadmap has a focus of optimizing Caribbean society through economic empowerment, and homeland security. Emergency preparedness and response is paramount for this quest. In fact, the Go Lean roadmap has the following 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus – a new guard – to protect the resultant economic engines and the Caribbean homeland.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The CU would serve as the “new guard“, a promoter and facilitator of all the Emergency Management agencies in the region. The strategy is to provide a Unified Command and Control for emergency operations to share, leverage and collaborate the “art and science” of this practice across the whole region.

The regional vision is that all Caribbean member-states empower a CU Homeland Security force to execute a limited scope on their sovereign territories. The legal basis for this empowerment is a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), embedded in the CU treaty from Step One/Day One. The CU Trade Federation would lead, fund and facilitate the Emergency Management functionality under the oversight of a regionally elected Commander-in-Chief for the CU.

As cited above, the Caribbean is the “greatest address on the planet”, but there is risk associated with living deep in a tropical zone. With the reality of Climate Change, we must not be caught unprepared.

In our immediate past, the Caribbean region has failed at the need for readiness and response. We have even failed to properly coordinate the “cry for help” and the collection of international-charitable support. We have suffered dire consequences as a result: loss of life, damage to property, disruption to economic systems, corruption … and abandonment. Many of our citizens have fled their Caribbean homeland, as a result, after each natural disaster. We have even created Ghost Towns.

We want something better, something more. We want our people to prosper where they are planted in the Caribbean. So as a community, we must provide assurances. No assurance that there will be no hurricanes, but rather the assurance that we can respond, recover, repair and rebuild:

“Yes, we can … “.

The Go Lean book details the series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to provide the proactive and reactive public safety/security in the Caribbean region:

Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in Future Page 21
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederating a non-sovereign permanent union Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Climate Change Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – How to Grow the Economy – Recover from Disasters Page 70
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Department Page 75
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Emergency Management Agency Page 76
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Meteorological and Geological Service Page 79
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Start-up Homeland Security Initiatives Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Re-boot Freeport Page 112
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – #3: Consolidated Homeland Security Pact Page 130
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices – Escalation Role Page 134
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy – Quick Disaster Recovery Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering & Analysis Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Emergency Management Page 196
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Wall Street – Adopt Advanced Recovery Products Page 200

Other subjects related to Emergency Management, Homeland Security and governing empowerments for the region have been blogged in other Go Lean…Caribbean commentaries, as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9070 Securing the Homeland – From the Seas
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9038 Doing Better with Charity Management
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7896 The Logistics of Disaster Relief
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7449 The Art and Science of Emergency Management
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7327 Zika – An Epidemiology Crisis – A 4-Letter Word
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7235 Flint, Michigan – A Cautionary Tale
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6893 A Meteorologist’s View On Climate Change
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6563 Lessons from Iceland – Model of Recovery
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6189 A Lesson in History – Hurricane ‘Katrina’ is helping today’s crises
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4741 Vanuatu and Tuvalu Cyclone – Inadequate response to human suffering
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2614 The ‘Great ShakeOut’ Earthquake Drill / Planning / Preparations
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2397 Stopping a Clear and Present Danger: Ebola
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1817 Caribbean grapples with intense new cycles of flooding & drought

The Caribbean is on the frontline of this battle: man versus Climate Change. While we are not the only ones, we have to be accountable and responsible for our own people and property. The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits that this “Agent of Change” is too big for just any one member-state to tackle alone, that there must be a regional solution; and presents this roadmap.

Climate Change has produced winners (consider northern cities with milder than normal winters) and losers. The Caribbean has found itself on the losing side. This means life-and-death for the people and the economic engines of the Caribbean communities.

While hurricanes are our reality, there is a science to these meteorological phenomena, and an art to our response. We can plan, monitor, alert, prepare and recover. We can do it better than in the recent past. We can provide assurances that “no stone” will be unturned in protecting people, property and systems of commerce. The watching world – our trading partners – needs this assurance!

The people and institutions of the region are therefore urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap to make the Caribbean a better, safer, place to live, work and play. This plan is conceivable, believable and achievable. Yes, we can. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. 



Appendix – List of Category 5 Atlantic Hurricanes



Dates as a
Category 5

Time as a
Category 5 (hours)

Peak one-minute
sustained winds






Matthew 2016 September 30 – October 1 6 160 260



Felix 2007 September 3–4† 24 175 280



Dean 2007 August 18–21† 24 175 280



Wilma 2005 October 19 18 185 295



Rita 2005 September 21–22 24 180 285



Katrina 2005 August 28–29 18 175 280



Emily 2005 July 16 6 160 260



Ivan 2004 September 9–14† 60 165 270



Isabel 2003 September 11–14† 42 165 270



Mitch 1998 October 26–28 42 180 285



Andrew 1992 August 23–24† 16 175 280



Hugo 1989 September 15 6 160 260



Gilbert 1988 September 13–14 24 185 295



Allen 1980 August 5–9† 72 190 305



David 1979 August 30–31 42 175 280



Anita 1977 September 2 12 175 280



Edith 1971 September 9 6 160 260



Camille 1969 August 16–18† 30 175 280



Beulah 1967 September 20 18 160 260



Hattie 1961 October 30–31 18 160 260



Carla 1961 September 11 18 175 280



Janet 1955 September 27–28 18 175 280



Carol 1953 September 3 12 160 260



“New England” 1938 September 19–20 18 160 260



“Labor Day” 1935 September 3 18 185 295



“Tampico” 1933 September 21 12 160 260



“Cuba–Brownsville” 1933 August 30 12 160 260



“Cuba” 1932 November 5–8 78 175 280



“Bahamas” 1932 September 5–6 24 160 260



San Felipe II-“Okeechobee” 1928 September 13–14 12 160 260



“Cuba” 1924 October 19 12 165 270



Reference=[1] †= Attained Category 5 status more than once

Source: Retrieved October 7, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Category_5_Atlantic_hurricanes

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