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How do they decide hurricane categories? Here's a quick rundown

Peter Malave records the surf from encroaching Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.
Peter Malave records the surf from encroaching Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.
Gerald Herbert, AP

SALT LAKE CITY — Hurricane Michael weakened into a tropical stormThursday. This happened after the storm climbed to a Category 4 hurricane earlier in the week and ended up only 2 miles per hour shy of a Category 5.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how the National Ocean Service categorizes tropical storms:

Tropical cyclones describe a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms.

Tropical depressions are the weakest version of tropical cycles.

Tropical storms are tropical cyclones with sustained winds of at least 39 per hour.

Then there’s the hurricane scale. The National Hurricane Center has a breakdown of the categories of hurricanes.

Category 1: These hurricanes contain dangerous winds that can produce some damage. The sustained winds stretch from 74 to 95 miles per hour.

Category 2: These hurricanes produce extremely dangerous winds that will cause extensive damage. These winds run from 96 to 110 miles per hour.

Category 3: These hurricanes can create devastating damage. Winds run from 111 to 129 miles per hour.

Category 4: Catastrophic damage will occur. It stretches from 130 to 156 miles per hour.

Category 5: More catastrophic damage will occur. Winds run from 157 miles per hour or higher.

Super typhoon: In the Western North Pacific, the NHC will label storms with winds higher than 157 miles per hour as super typhoons.