How Strong Can A Hurricane Get?
Spinning rapidly in the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma is already breaking records, and reaching what some scientists deemed the maximum theoretical limit for an Atlantic Hurricane. The top three hurricanes on record, in terms of sustained wind strength, are as follows:
- Hurricane Patricia, 2015, Pacific hurricane, 215 mph.
- Hurricane Allen, 1980, Gulf hurricane, 190 mph.
- Hurricane Irma, today, Atlantic hurricane, 185 mph (still strengthening).
By way of comparison, Hurricane Harvey just devastated East Texas and had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. Irma’s 185 mph winds are well above the 157 mph required to qualify as a Category 5 hurricane. Cat 5 is the highest level, there is no Category 6 yet created on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. No Atlantic hurricane in recorded history has exceeded Irma’s current 185 mph windspeed and Irma still has time to increase in strength.
My research found this article which claimed the maximum theoretical limit for an Atlantic hurricane is 190 mph. Irma is still looking to grow and is just a few mph from that supposed theoretical limit. This hurricane may compel researchers to redo their model.
I own a home in Key Largo, Florida which is currently squarely in the expected path of this incredible storm. It’s a strong house sitting 16 feet up on one meter diameter concrete pillars and with a steel roof. I’ll follow up and let you know how it goes.