Hurricane Matthew hit landfall in the U.S. as a Category 3, a force of nature capable of inflicting devastating damage as it churns along the east coast.
Hurricane Matthew was downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 3 storm, leaving many people asking just how much damage it might cause.
On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a Category 3 has winds speeds from 111 to 129 miles per hour. That level is capable of “devastating” damage, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Matthew arrived as one of the most powerful hurricanes to threaten the east coast in more than a decade.
Millions of people in Florida are already without power, according to news reports from that state Friday afternoon. Evacuations were ordered in parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Camera footage from Florida showed huge chunks of concrete blowing off of high-rise buildings and smashing to the ground. Reports were coming in of people getting trapped by flood waters.
A Category 3 hurricane is nothing to take lightly.
Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy were Category 3 storms and they both made an enormous impact.
In 2005, Katrina caused $108 billion in damage and killed 1,833 people, many from drowning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In 2012, Sandy became the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history.
A Weather Channel video simulates the kind of damage a Category 3 can cause. The plus-100 mph winds can cause the front door of a home to blow in. Windows are likely to be shattered by large chunks of flying debris. The roof of a home can start to lift up or completely sail away. Trees fall over.
But the wind is not the only factor to worry about in a Category 3 hurricane. Variables such as the amount of rainfall and the size of the storm can cause widespread flooding. Massive power outages can occur, creating safety hazards such as the inability to communicate by phone and limited access to food and water.
After the storm, thousands families can be left homeless or they are forced to relocate because the hurricane left an area inhabitable.