Winds for a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale range from 130 mph to 156 mph. Winds of that strength are capable of causing catastrophic damage. The scale does not factor other major hazards from hurricanes such as storm surge and flooding rainfall.
The landfall of Harvey and Irma at Category 4 strength was already a historic event, marking the first time two Atlantic hurricanes struck the U.S. at that intensity in the same year. With Puerto Rico taking a direct hit from Maria, the U.S. has now endured landfalls from three Category 4 hurricanes.
Category 4 or stronger Atlantic hurricane landfalls in the Lower 48 are a rare occurrence, with only 27 documented since 1851, including Harvey and Irma. Three of those 27 landfalls were Category 5 hurricanes.
Puerto Rico has experienced four Category 4 or stronger landfalls, including Maria, which was the strongest landfall there since 1928.
- The Weather Channel