Tornado Damage RatingsUnderstanding the Enhanced Fujita Scale

By: Jerry Iannucci

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

Because many of the factors used by the Fujita scale weresubjective and ambiguous a new scale was introduced.? This new scale is called the Enhanced FujitaScale or EF Scale and went into effect on February 1, 2007.?The Enhanced Fujita Scale better reflects tornado damage in relation towind speeds.? The EF Scale also introduced28 damage indicators to reflect the types of structures or vegetation that weredamaged.

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

EF-1 category tornadoes have wind speeds of 86-110 mph andare 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 andare known to have caused considerable damage.?An EF-2 tornado is powerful enough to lift a car off the ground anddestroy some small structures.

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

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

EF-5 category tornadoes have wind speeds of over 200 mph andare 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 therehas only been one recorded EF-5 tornado.?That tornado occurred in Greensburg, Kansason May 4, 2007.? Video footage from this tornado revealswidespread devastation rarely seen before.

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