The Saffir-Simpson Scale is used to classify hurricanes based on:
- Destruction potential
- No longer includes expected storm surge (as of the 2009 hurricane season)
Intensity of a storm is based on its maximum sustained wind speed (taken as a 1-minute average) and matches up well with the destruction potential of the storm. Beginning in the 2009 hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) decided to omit the storm surge potential from each category because of its large variance based on other important factors besides wind speed. In addition, wind speed ranges were modified slightly in 2012 to resolve awkwardness associated with the conversions among the various wind speed units used in NHC advisory products.