Tornado Damage Ratings – Understanding the Enhanced Fujita Scale

Tornado Damage Ratings – Understanding the Enhanced Fujita Scale

When you hear about an F-2 tornado in Stokesdale, NC or see an F5 tornado video on the Internet the “F” refers to the Fujita scale (F-Scale). The Fujita scale was introduced in 1971 as a way to rate the intensity of a tornado based on the amount of damage done to man-made structures and vegetation. It was developed by Tetsuya Fujita and Allen in Kansas City, Missouri.

Because many of the factors used by the Fujita scale were subjective and ambiguous a new scale was introduced. This new scale is called the Enhanced Fujita Scale or EF Scale and went into effect on February 1, 2007. The Enhanced Fujita Scale better reflects tornado damage in relation to wind speeds. The EF Scale also introduced 28 damage indicators to reflect the types of structures or vegetation that were damaged.

EF-0 category tornadoes have wind speeds of 65-85 mph and are known to have caused light damage often from fallen trees and branches. It should be noted that a tornado that did not cause any confirmed damaged is always rated an EF-0.

EF-1 category tornadoes have wind speeds of 86-110 mph and are known to have caused moderate damage. This could include mobile homes being overturned and damage to rooftops.

EF-2 category tornadoes have wind speeds of 111-135 mph and are known to have caused considerable damage. An EF-2 tornado is powerful enough to lift a car off the ground and destroy some small structures.

EF-3 category tornadoes have wind speeds of 136–165 mph and are known to have caused severe damage. At this intensity level well constructed homes will be destroyed and larger buildings will suffer considerable damage.

EF-4 category tornadoes have wind speeds of 166–200 mph and are known to have caused devastating damage. At this level even well constructed homes can be completely leveled. Cars can also be picked up off of the ground and thrown great distances.

EF-5 category tornadoes have wind speeds of over 200 mph and are known to have caused incredible damage. At this level entire neighborhoods might be swept away.

Since the Enhanced Fujita scale went into effect in 2007 there has only been one recorded EF-5 tornado. That tornado occurred in Greensburg, Kansas on May 4, 2007. Video footage from this tornado reveals widespread devastation rarely seen before.

Jerry Iannucci operates a website devoted to online tornado videos. For the best tornado videos please visit: http://www.BestTornadoVideos.com

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