Herbert Saffir

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Herbert Saffir
NWS Director Jack Kelly presents Herbert Saffir (on right) with a framed poster of Hurricane Andrew depicting the Saffir–Simpson scale
Born(1917-03-29)March 29, 1917
Brooklyn, New York City, United States
DiedNovember 21, 2007(2007-11-21) (aged 90)
EducationGeorgia Institute of Technology
Known forSaffir–Simpson scale
Scientific career
FieldsCivil engineering

Herbert Seymour Saffir (29 March 1917 – 21 November 2007) (/ˈsæfər/ [1]) was an American civil engineer who co-developed (with meteorologist Robert Simpson) the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale for measuring the intensity of hurricanes. As recently as 2005 Saffir was the principal of Saffir Engineering[2] in Coral Gables, Florida. He also published articles on designing buildings for high wind resistance.[3]

Education and early career[edit]

Originally from Brooklyn, Saffir graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1940 with a B.S. in civil engineering.[4] Saffir worked for Dade County, Florida beginning in 1947 as an assistant county engineer, and worked on updating the county building code. Since that time, he had traveled extensively to study windstorm damage for clues to improvements and has been a tireless advocate for stricter codes in hurricane-prone areas.

Later career[edit]

In 1965 Saffir was working on a study of windstorm damage on low-cost housing commissioned by the United Nations (UN), Saffir developed a scale to categorize the intensity of hurricanes by their maximum wind speed. In 1969, his friend Bob Simpson, then-director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), added information on the potential storm surge and range of central pressures for each category, resulting in what later became known as the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale.[5]

Saffir survived the burning of the cruise ship SS Morro Castle on 8 September 1934. The ship was en route from Havana to New York when it caught fire and burned, killing a total of 137 passengers and crew members.

On 21 November 2007 Herbert Saffir died of a heart attack at South Miami Hospital in Miami according to his son, Richard Saffir. He was 90 years old.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale". American English Dictionary. Collins. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  2. ^ Looking at the Damage – McGraw-Hill Construction | ENR
  3. ^ Google Scholar search for H Saffir
  4. ^ Engineering Hall of Fame
  5. ^ http://www.novalynx.com/saffir-interview.html Archived 2010-02-28 at the Wayback Machine Q&A with Herbert Saffir — June 2001 interview from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
  6. ^ Herbert Saffir, 90; Hurricane Scale Creator

External links[edit]