Readers React: We need a new hurricane rating system to convey the danger of storms like Florence

Flooded vehicles sit on a closed section of Interstate 95 in Lumberton, N.C., Monday, Sept. 17, 2018
A flooded vehicle sits on a closed section of Interstate 95 in Lumberton, N.C., on Monday.
(Gerry Broome / Associated Press)

To the editor: We need a new way to gauge the danger that a hurricane poses.

The numbering system we now use only relates to wind velocity at the eye. It does not provide equivalent information about rainfall amounts, flooding potential, road outages, electrical losses and structural damage that may occur. The hurricanes of 2017 ought to provide a sound basis for making the necessary calculations.

Just as we use a temperature and humidity index to indicate the actual effect of a heat wave on individuals, the National Weather Service and the World Meteorological Organization ought to create a 5-letter alert system based on impacts: “A” for light, “B” for moderate, “C” for major, “D” for severe and “F” for catastrophic.

This new system might end the dangerous practice of saying a hurricane is “strengthening” or “weakening,” when it is actually doing the opposite.


Godfrey Harris, Los Angeles


To the editor: Coastal properties are subjected to storm-driven tides and bluff erosion from climate change. Homes push deeper into natural areas and are ravaged by fire.

I can’t help but remind everyone that Mother Nature never said she was done.


Billy Goodnick, Santa Barbara

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