Meteorologically, Saffir-Simpson is fine. The Yale researchers are focused on damage brought not only by wind but by storm surge and heavy rainfall.
They cite storm track angle of attack with the coastline and topography as key factors.
Looks like they want to bring the economic impact into play to demonstrate tropical cyclones are getting worse over time.
If they want to make that play, perhaps they should include the density and value of infrastructure present in each storm’s path. Using infrastructure as a denominator in their proposed new system would certainly be meaningful.
A rating system that may lead people to misunderstand the likely impact of an approaching storm is obviously not satisfactory. So is there a better approach?
For decades, hurricanes have been rated on a scale of 1 to 5 based solely on a storm’s wind speeds.
But as recent hurricanes show, a tropical cyclone’s winds often tell us little about its real threats — coastal storm surge and precipitation-driven flooding, say Yale researchers.
Modern meteorological data collection gives us an unprecedented view into the real-time growth, track, and death of tropical cyclones.
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