In Brief

Hurricane Scale Inventor Hits 101

hurricane katrina
NOAA's GOES-12 weather satellites captured this image of Hurricane Katrina at Category 5 strength on Aug. 28, 2005, at 11:45 a.m. EDT. (Image credit: NOAA)

Last weekend in Washington, D.C., meteorgologists gathered at a luncheon to celebrate Robert Simpson, one of the creators of the Saffir-Simpson Scale, which measures hurricane intensity, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog reports.

Simpson, who turned 101 in November, was honored for his work in establishing hurricane research and forecast efforts, including the National Hurricane Center, of which he served as the director from 1968-1974. He created the Saffir-Simpson Scale of hurricane strength with Hebert Saffir; the scale runs from Categories 1-5, with 1 being the weakest and 5 the strongest, based on ranges of wind speed. The scale is still used today to rate hurricanes and warn those in their paths.

Simpson was affected by hurricane at a young age, the Post notes, when a family meal in his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas, was interrupted by a hurricane's storm surge when he was 6 years old.

Andrea Thompson
Live Science Contributor

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.