Hurricane rating system fails to account for deadly rain
TRENTON, North Carolina (AP) — Meteorologists and disaster experts say the nearly 50-year-old hurricane rating system fails to convey the full danger of storms because it only measures wind speed, not rainfall or storm surge.
Some people decided to stay put when they learned Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm before it hit last week. But experts say the storm was at least as dangerous. The risk of flooding hadn’t decreased at all, and water accounts for 90 percent of storm deaths.
Several meteorologists and disaster experts said that needs to change.
They point to Florence, last year’s Hurricane Harvey, 2012’s Sandy and 2008’s Ike as storms where the official Saffir-Simpson category didn’t quite convey the danger because of its emphasis on wind, not the massive amounts of water the storms generated.