Is it so powerful that meteorologists made up a "Category 6" for Hurricane Irma?

This claim is attributed to a blog post:

The scale we have right now really never envisioned storms that powerful. In fact, some have suggested that we need to add a “category 6” to describe the kind of “super storms” that are now developing in the Atlantic.

-"Category 6? If Hurricane Irma Becomes The Strongest Hurricane In History, It Could Wipe Entire Cities Off The Map" (2017-09-01), on Archive.is

  • 1
    Why the 'economics' tag, and where is the notable claim that makes a question here on-topic (see skeptics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/864/… )?
    – Pac0
    Sep 10, 2017 at 0:43
  • Added the original source of the "claim" as identified by Snopes since this question didn't have one. Since the original source (assuming this is it) doesn't appear to be notable, nor does it appear to actually make the alleged claim, it'd seem to fail the general requirements for SE.Skeptics. Still, this seems like an odd case; while there may not be a notable claim, a lot of debunkings have posited there to be one, effectively establishing a claim which no one appears to have actually made.
    – Nat
    Sep 10, 2017 at 1:15
  • 4
    That blog post does not claim that Irma IS category 6. It claims we should create one, which is absolutely not the same thing. Sep 10, 2017 at 1:25
  • Lots of debunkings out there; e.g. from (1) the Washington Post, (2) the New York Times, (3) PolitiFact, and (4) Snopes; but what're they all debunking?
    – Nat
    Sep 10, 2017 at 2:27
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    Welcome to Skeptics! This question is confusing because, while there are some people who wrong thing this is a Category 6 storm (and hence the debunkings), this question doesn't cite them, it cites the original source of that rumour which doesn't make that claim, leaving us nothing to respond to.
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 10, 2017 at 3:52

1 Answer 1


No, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale currently tops-out at Category 5.

Snopes has also covered this issue:

Is Irma a Category 6 storm?

We can say with certainty that Hurricane Irma is not a Category 6 storm and will not become one because that category does not exist. The highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a five, which contains all storms with sustained winds greater than 157 mph.

The idea that Irma is a Category 6 storm seems to have originated with a a blog post that implied that a new category, Category 6, would be created for Irma. While the post does not state this directly, its headline reads “Category 6? If Hurricane Irma Becomes The Strongest Hurricane In History, It Could Wipe Entire Cities Off The Map.” That story, written by end-time enthusiast and Republican candidate for Idaho’s first congressional district Michael Snyder, was first published on his blog “The Economic Collapse” before being aggregated by other clickbait websites.

Until a Category 6 is defined, there cannot be a Category 6 hurricane.

  • This question lacked a reference, so added the reference that Snopes gave in the quote here.
    – Nat
    Sep 10, 2017 at 1:13

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