TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — Many meteorologists and scientists want a change to the hurricane rating system to reflect the real risks of a storm.
Several meteorologists and disaster experts said something needs to change with the 47-year-old Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to reflect the real risks in hurricanes.
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.
The system puts a strong focus on wind but does not account for dangerous rainfall and storm surge.
Some people said they did not evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence because it was downgraded to a Category 1 storm.
But experts say these people had a false sense of security because high water is responsible for 90 percent of storm deaths.
“The concept of saying ‘downgraded’ or ‘weakened should be forever banished,” said University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd. “With Florence, I felt it was more dangerous after it was lowered to Category 2.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it takes all hazards, including rain and storm surge seriously — and communicates them.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)