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  Great Barrier Reef - Cyclone Categories
 
 

For more information on the latest Cyclone information visit www.bom.gov.au
Cyclone Severity Categories

An estimate of cyclone severity is now included in all tropical cyclone advices. 

Categories of cyclone severity range from " 1 " for weak cyclones to "5" for the most severe cyclones.

Accordingly, the risk of property and crop damage, shore erosion and danger to life increases from low for a category 1 to very high for a category 5 cyclone. 

Using this severity scale, communities will be able to assess the degree of cyclone threat and take appropriate action. 

It must be emphasized that the category refers to the severity in the zone of maximum winds and therefore the effects felt at individual locations may not be exactly as described in the accompanying table. 

Damage will vary from location to location depending upon factors such as: 
- how far you are from the zone of maximum winds 
- how exposed the location is 
- building standards 
- vegetation type 
- resultant flooding 
It should also be noted that the category does not refer to storm tides; if a storm tide is expected it will be mentioned separately in the cyclone warning. 

Categories Comparison


Category 1
Strongest gust less than 125 km/h
Typical effects (indicative only) - Negligible house damage. Damage to some crops, trees and caravans. Craft may drag moorings. 


Category 2

Strongest gust 125 - 170 km/h
Typical effects (indicative only) - Minor house damage. Significant damage to signs, trees and caravans. Heavy damage to some crops. Risk of power failure. Small craft may break moorings. 

Category 3 (e.g. Winifred)
Strongest gust 170 - 225 km/h
Typical effects (indicative only) - Some roof and structural damage. Some caravans destroyed. Power failure likely. 

Category 4 (e.g. Tracy) 
Strongest gust 225 - 280 km/h
Typical effects (indicative only) - Significant roofing loss and structural damage. Many caravans destroyed and blown away. Dangerous airborne debris. Widespread power failure. 

Category 5 (e.g. Orson or more recently Yasi Feb 2011)
Strongest gust More than 280 km/h
Typical effects (indicative only) - Extremely dangerous with widespread destruction.