Could Hurricane Irma Become a Category 6 Devastation Machine?

Several viral news stories are surfacing saying that the meteorologists will be creating a new category designation for Hurricane Irma. However, those reports are simply not true.

Reports of Irma being classified as an unprecedented "category 6" hurricane began circulating after a blog post speculating the change was imminent was written by Mike Snyder, according to Snopes. Snyder isn't a scientist — he's a Republican state congressional candidate who runs a blog.

Other click-bait sites ran with it from there, with little clarification of the actual scale for hurricane categories.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is used to measure the "category" of hurricane. Category 5, the current designation of Irma, covers all hurricanes over 157 mph. Irma has had a maximum wind speed of 185 mph.

That speed makes Irma a remarkably powerful hurricane, but there's no plan of adjusting the scale just because of its existence.

Snyder's original article connected the high-speed winds with several past quotes from a 2015 academic paper entitled Nature Climate Change. The paper discusses the proposition of altering the current way hurricanes are measured to adjust for the increased high-speed storms caused by climate change.

Snyder doesn't make it clear that the paper isn't connected with Irma in any way. That's how the online confusion began.


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