Enhanced Fujita scale

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The Enhanced Fujita scale is a tornado category scale used to measure tornadoes in the United States and Canada by how bad their damage is. The National Weather Service started using it on February 1, 2007 and in Canada in April 2013. The weakest tornadoes on this scale are classified EF0, and the strongest storms are classified EF5. The scale replaces the old Fujita scale in America. Tornadoes under EF5 label represent winds of 200 miles an hour or stronger. No tornadoes in the United States that happened before February 1, 2007 will have their ratings changed to the new scale.

Scale Wind speed
Example of damage
mph km/h
EFU Unknown Unknown No damage

Short for "EF-Unknown." The tornado doesn't hit anything, so there is no damage to tell how strong it is, or nobody can get to the damage to rate it.[2]

EF0 65–85 104–137 Light damage

Well-built structures are typically unscathed, sometimes sustaining broken windows, with minor damage to roofs and chimneys. Billboards and large signs can be knocked down. Trees may have large branches broken off, and can be uprooted if they have shallow roots.

EF0 damage example
EF1 86–110 138–177 Moderate damage

There is damage to mobile homes and other temporary structures becomes significant, and cars and other vehicles can be pushed off the road or flipped. Permanent structures can suffer major damage to their roofs.

EF1 damage example
EF2 111–135 178–217 Considerable damage

Well-built structures can suffer serious damage, including roof loss, and collapse of some exterior walls may occur at poorly built structures. Mobile homes, however, are totally destroyed. Vehicles can be lifted off the ground, and lighter objects can become small missiles, causing damage outside of the tornado's main path. Wooded areas have a large percentage of their trees snapped or uprooted.

EF2 damage example
EF3 136–165 218–266 Severe damage

Well-built structures lose all outer and some inner walls. Trains are overturned. Unanchored homes are swept away, and homes with poor anchoring may collapse entirely. Small vehicles and similarly sized objects are lifted off the ground and tossed as projectiles. Wooded areas suffer almost total loss of vegetation and some tree debarking may occur.

EF3 damage example
EF4 166–200 267–322 Devastating damage

Well-built homes are reduced to a short pile of medium-sized debris on the foundation. Homes with poor or no anchoring are swept completely away. Large heavy vehicles, including airplanes, trains, and large trucks, can be pushed over, flipped repeatedly, or picked up and thrown. Large healthy trees are entirely debarked and snapped off close to the ground or uprooted altogether and turned into flying projectiles. Passenger cars and similarly sized objects can be picked up and flung for considerable distances.

EF4 damage example
EF5 >200 >322 Complete destruction

Well-built, well-anchored homes go off their foundations and into the air before obliterating them, flinging the wreckage for miles and sweeping the foundation clean. Large steel-reinforced structures such as schools are completely leveled. Tornadoes of this intensity tend to shred and scour low-lying grass and vegetation from the ground. Very little recognizable structural debris is generated with most materials reduced to a coarse mix of small, granular particles and dispersed evenly across the tornado's damage path. Large, multiple-ton steel frame vehicles and farm equipment are often mangled beyond recognition and tossed miles away or reduced entirely to unrecognizable component parts.

EF5 damage example

References[change | change source]

  1. "Enhanced F Scale for Tornado Damage". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  2. Murphy, John D. (30 August 2020). "National Weather Service Instruction 10-1605" (PDF). National Weather Service. pp. A–74–75. Retrieved 29 November 2019.