Weather Hype

Weather Hype

Episode 54: The Real Impacts of a New Hurricane Scale

January 17, 2019

Currently, the weather community uses the Saffir-Simpson scale to communicate potential property damage due to hurricane force winds. At its core, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. However, recently the weather community has begun to question whether categorizing hurricanes based solely on their wind speed can effectively communicate the multitude of hazards that often accompany tropical weather.

To address this concern, AccuWeather recently announced on January 9th at the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting that they will be using a new AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Hurricanes starting in 2019. Although a much needed step in our community and a topic we have been discussing for years, meteorologists are asking: is it too soon to put this new RealImpact Scale into practice? To answer this question, we will dive deep into the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale, discuss the positives and negatives that accompany such a drastic change to the weather community, and ask some tough questions relating to the social scientific aspects of this new scale.

For more information on the topics discussed during this podcast or for additional links, please visit:

Modifications were made for the introduction and transition music "Baby, I'm Bad Weather" by Toussaint Morrison:, "Vittoro" by Blue Dot Sessions:, as well as "Missing" by Scott Holmes: