Tornado on the Horizon #2: Not so humble beginnings.

source: The Weather Channel

Before we can talk about the first EF5 tornado, we have to first understand the different ways to measure a tornado’s strength. Last article we talked about the Enhanced Fujita scale. Technically speaking, this scale is actually a revision of a previous scale. The scale in question is simply called the Fujita scale.

Founded in 1971, and ending in 2007, the Fujita scale was first implemented by Theodore Fujita. While this scale was largely known and accepted, it had never actually been scientifically proven in regards to the accuracy of the correlations between wind speeds and the subsequent damage.

Not being able to make the correlation between wind speed and damage causes issues when observing and categorizing tornadoes and their damage. But we can’t dismiss the impact that Theodore Fujita made in meteorology. So in 2007, the Fujita Scale was revised into the system we now call the Enhanced Fujita Scale to measure the strength of a tornado.

Mr. Tornado(Theodore Fujita). Source:

There are a few variations of this scale altered to fit different countries, such as the TORRO Scale, primarily used in Europe. There has even been a proposed International Fujita Scale to use globally. But no matter the scale used to measure a tornado, it can be translated back to the EF scale. Considering this information, most tornadoes dated before 2007 are listed as F0–5, rather than an EF0–5.

Since tornadoes before 1950 were not ranked(as we did not have a proper system to do so) many of these tornadoes have been given an F5 or EF5 rating based on what meteorologists have observed from accounts of the damages.

With all of that being said, we are ready to dive into the world of EF5(and equivalent)tornadoes. Stay tuned, in the next article we talk about the German tornado in the year 1764.

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