Surface Pressure a Better Indicator of Hurricane Damage Potential

Interesting article about more accurate determination of a hurricane’s damage potential.


"Surface pressure is a better benchmark than sustained wind speeds for forecasting hurricane damage potential, according to a new study from Colorado State University ."

This is most significant in coastal areas. A cat 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale is expected to produce a coastal storm surge between 6 to 8 feet with a barometric pressure in the 965 to 979 millibar range. When Ike hit Galveston as a cat 2 in 2008 with sustained winds of 110 mph, it had a surface pressure of 950 millibars. There was plenty of wind damage but the 20’ surge is what caused the most catastrophic amount.

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Katrina was 902. Maria was 908. So the correlation with pressure makes sense. Both were very destructive storms

And “Superstorm Sandy” was 940 when it hit NJ/NY, even though the winds were down to about 75 knots.

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