43 (rd parallel north)

Today the path of Hurricane Irene crossed over the 43rd parallel north of the equator in the United States (New York, Vermont and New Hampshire).  As Hurricane Irene continues to sweep across the East Coast of the United States and causes major devastation in its path, here is a description from the Hurricane Preparedness – Homepage explaining how the wind speed determines how the impact isn’t linear but rather exponential through the Saffir-Simpson scale:

Potential Damage Multiplier
The following chart is useful for illustrating that the correlation between wind speed and estimated damage is not linear, but exponential.  In other words, a Category 2 hurricane will not cause roughly twice as much damage as a Category 1, but ten times as much damage! Of course, there are many variables in this equation that will affect the results, and this is only to provide a rough rule of thumb.

Saffir-Simpon Hurricane Wind Scale Wind Speed Range (MPH) Potential Damage Multiplier
Category 1 74 – 95 1
Category 2 96 – 110 10
Category 3 111 – 130 50
Category 4 131 – 155 250
Category 5 > 155 500

For each category of increase in wind speed,
expect an exponential increase in damage.

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