Dorian is forecast to become a Category 3 ‘major’ hurricane. What does this mean?

 Doyle Rice, USA TODAY,USA TODAY

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center has Dorian strengthening into a major Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph by Sunday off the U.S. East Coast. 

What does this mean?

A “major” hurricane is any hurricane that’s rated as a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity. A Category 3 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of from 111 to 129 mph.

The five hurricane categories of the scale are defined solely by wind speed and don’t take storm surge, heavy rain or barometric pressure into account. Keep in mind that water – whether through surging ocean waves or driving rain – is often the most destructive part of a hurricane, typically causing more devastation than wind.

If Dorian hits as a Category 3, “devastating” wind damage will occur, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“There is a high risk of injury or death to people, livestock and pets due to flying and falling debris,” the hurricane center warned.

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