Hurricane Ike which was only a category 2 storm made landfall in Texas and moved north through the Ohio valley yesterday proves that the rating doesn't tell the whole story. They're saying it caused 30 billion dollars n damage and has caused at least 30 fatalities.
From what I've read it brought in a pretty high storm surge over a large area. What really made this storm was the size of it I think. Instead of getting stronger winds it expanded in size after hitting Cuba and looked like at one point it was affecting almost the entire Gulf of Mexico
Even after landfall it's fast speed and taking a while to wind down brought strong winds all the way into the Great lakes states as it merged with a cold front. It was an amazing storm to watch.
I think a lesson to learn from this storm is that it's probably not a good idea to build on barrier islands but we'll never learn that. I really would never want to have my permanent house on one of these types of islands.