As Hurricane Matthew continues to rage along the Florida coastline, residents are preparing for the damaging effects of the storm. But when it comes to hurricane categories, what kind of damage could Matthew cause as a potential category 4 hurricane?

First, it's important to understand where the categories come from. Meteorologists use a 1 to 5 scale to gauge the magnitude of hurricanes as categorized by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Here is a breakdown of what to expect with each category:

  • Category 1 - 74 to 95 mph winds
  • Category 2 - 96 to 110 mph winds
  • Category 3 - 111 to 129 mph winds
  • Category 4 - 130 to 156 mph winds
  • Category 5 - 157+ mph winds

With Hurricane Matthew expected to reach a category 4 hurricane, Florida residents should be prepared for "catastrophic damage". According Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the extremely high winds will cause damage to well-built framed homes with loss of most of the roof structure and even some exterior walls. Many trees and power poles will be snapped or blown down, with power outages possibly lasting weeks or months.

To find out more information on what to expect with Hurricane Matthew or any category hurricane, check out the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale on the National Hurricane Center website.

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