Throughout hurricane season, you may wonder what meteorologists are talking about when they describe a hurricane's category, and how that affects what will happens as it reaches land. You're not alone. Here's a quick primer to knowing your hurricane categories.
Category 4 hurricanes are tropical cyclones that reach Category 4 intensity on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. Category 4 hurricanes that later attained Category 5 strength are not included in this list. The Atlantic basin includes the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
Most Category 4 hurricanes occur during September, with 51 storms occurring in that month. This coincides with the average peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which occurs on September 10. Most Category 4 hurricanes develop in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
Of the 33 hurricanes currently considered to have attained Category 5 status in the Atlantic, 18 had wind speeds at 175 mph (78 m/s; 152 kn; 282 km/h) or greater and only seven had wind speeds at 180 mph (80 m/s; 160 kn; 290 km/h) or greater (the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, Allen, Gilbert, Mitch, Rita, Wilma, and Irma).