The Saffir–Simpson scale is useful for evaluating maximum sustained hurricane winds and storm surge over open water in the prelandfall window, but it fails to accurately account for the observed impacts over land. A new postland-fall hurricane classification system (HCS) is proposed that redistributes the categorization of hurricanes into types according to six variables: open water storm surge, rainfall, duration of hurricane force winds, maximum sustained winds, gust score, and minimum central pressure. Hurricanes are assigned values for each variable and summed for a numerical 0–100 grade. Principal component analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis are also performed on the six variables to categorize U.S. land-falling hurricanes into storm types. A total of 41 land-falling hurricanes in the United States since 1960 have been analyzed. The summation scores show many hurricanes that are of strength similar to their Saffir–Simpson classifications, with several notable exceptions. The cluster analysis identifies five different hurricane types. These types can be arranged to identify hurricane strength and structure more effectively than the Saffir–Simpson scale. In focusing on the observed storm intensity over land and the resulting human experience, the HCS allows a way to compare hurricane impacts across different periods.
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