(WHTM) — The peak of hurricane season is just around the corner, and that means that portions of the East Coast may be seeing these storms in the coming weeks.
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Idalia is expected to strengthen to an “extremely dangerous major hurricane.”
But what is the definition of a major hurricane and why does it matter?
According to the National Hurricane Center, a hurricane is considered “major” when the sustained winds within the storm reach 111 miles per hour or higher. This corresponds to a category three or higher storm on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Winds Scale.
Currently, Hurricane Idalia is forecast to make landfall along the northwest Gulf Coast of Florida sometime on Wednesday as a category three major hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A category three storm, according to the scale, means that devastating damage will occur. The winds of a hurricane have to be between 111 miles per hour and 129 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center says that storms of this strength can cause major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends and that many trees will be snapped.
Major hurricanes also have the potential for significant loss of life and damage, according to the National Weather Service
Some famous category three storms in the past 20 years include Hurricane Irene from 2011, and Hurricane Sandy from 2012, however, Sandy hit land it was a category one extratropical cyclone.