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A closer look at Hurricane Idalia’s category and spaghetti model

Hurricane Idalia could be making landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast soon — here’s what you should know.

A map showing spaghetti models of Hurricane Idalia over Florida

Hurricane Idalia spaghetti model

Image via Cyclocane

With the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Idalia just around the corner, we’re taking a look some hurricane lingo — particularly, what a spaghetti model is and what the categories really mean.

According to the National Weather Service, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is what’s used to measure how intense a hurricane may be. The scale bases everything on a scale of 1-5 and estimates the catastrophe potential.

  • Category 1
    Expect wind speeds of 74-95 mph, minor damage like removal of roof decking or snapped trees, and possible loss of electricity.
    Example: Hurricane Sandy
  • Category 2
    Expect wind speeds of 96-110 mph, extensive damage like uprooted trees, broken windows, and loss of power for days or weeks.
    Example: Hurricane Frances
  • Category 3
    Expect wind speeds of 111-129 mph, devastating damage like broken doors and windows, and week or month-long power outages.
    Example: Hurricane Wilma
  • Category 4
    Expect wind speeds of 130-156 mph and catastrophic damage like uprooted trees, week or month-long power outages, and damage to even well-built homes.
    Example: Hurricane Ian
  • Category 5
    Expect wind speeds of over 157 mph and unimaginable damage like destroyed homes, fallen trees, and week or month-long power outages.
    Example: Hurricane Andrew

Hurricane Spaghetti Models show where tropical systems may go, but do not show where the impacts will occur. When they’re clustered together, forecasters have high confidence they’ll follow a specific “plot-line.”

Hurricane Idalia is expected to hit the west coast of Florida as a Category 3 on Wednesday, Aug. 30, although its path and intensity can shift.

Wondering how you can prepare?