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Peak wind speed is an important measurement of a hurricane's strength.
Four other storms have had winds as strong in the overall Atlantic region, but they were in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico, which usually have warmer waters.
In this photo combination, floodwaters from tropical storm Harvey, top, surround homes in Spring, Texas, on Aug. Their Cyclone Damage Potential index (CDP) looks not just at peak wind speed, but hurricane size and forward wind speed.
28, 2017, and damaged goods surround the same homes on Sept. The index considers offshore and onshore winds, wave and coastal surge damage potential, among other factors.
According to their estimates, Irma has a 5.3 rating on a scale of 10, compared to 5.2 for Harvey and 4.9 for Katrina when it made landfall.
"A large, slowly moving hurricane that repeatedly batters an area with high winds can cause greater total damage than a smaller, faster hurricane that blows quickly through a region," Done wrote last month as Harvey landed in Texas.
Irma set an Atlantic Ocean wind record, but the size of the hurricane and its forward speed could say more about its ultimate impact.