Creator of hurricane intensity scale dies

The structural engineer who created the five-category system used to describe hurricane strength has died.

His son says Herbert Saffir died Wednesday in Miami from complications of surgery. He was 90.

Saffir created his scale in 1969 -- laying out for the first time what kind of damage could be expected from an approaching hurricane. It has since become the definitive way to describe intensity for storms that form in the Atlantic and parts of the Pacific.

Before the scale, hurricanes were simply described as major or minor. They're now rated Category 1, the weakest, to Category 5.

Saffir's scale was expanded by former National Hurricane Center director Robert Simpson and became known as the Saffir-Simpson scale in the 1970s.