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Historical Facts

Most tornadoes within 24 hours in U.S. history - 2011 produced 211 on April 27th (11 EF4s and 4 EF5s).

Recent Tornadoes

EF-0 Tornado hit Downers Grove Illinois, causing minor damage on August 18th, 2015.

EF-1 hits Battle Ground, Washington on December 10, 2015. Thirty-six homes were damaged.

Late season December tornado hits Texas. Fifty homes were damaged.

Tornado Fujita Scale

The scale for rating tornadoes is known as the Fujita scale or Fujita-Pearson scale. It rates the intensity of damage that tornadoes can cause to building structures and vegetation. This tornado damage scale was developed by T. Theodore Fujita of the Univeristy of Chicago in 1971(Fujita, 1971). The F scale indicates wind speed and damage likely to be experienced. The wind speeds and associated damage have not been scientifically verified are are only estimates. Below is the original Fujita Scale from T. Theodore Fujita.

Fujita tornado damage scale

The F-Scale or Fujita Tornado Damage Scale has been upgraded by a new Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale). The enhanced scale identifies 28 different free standing structures. The new EF-Scale first started to be used Feb. 1, 2007 and the first EF-5 tornado developed on May 4th, 2007 in Greensburg, Kansas. Below is the new enhanced Fujita Scale by a team of wind engineers and meteorologists.

Enhanced Fujita tornado scale

Modified from Wind Science and Engineering Center, 2004

The Enhanced Fujita Scale structure indicators are listed below.

Tornado indicator structures

Modified from Wind Science and Engineering Center, 2004

Below is a count chart of reported EF-1 to EF-5 tornadoes in the United States from 1954 to 2014 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The chart indicates that there has been little change in the frequency of tornadoes over the last 60 years.

Number of Tornadoes in the United States, 1954 to 2014

Number of annual tornadoes in the United States from 1954 to 2014. (NOAA.gov, 2015)


NOAA.gov, 2015, Historical Records and Trends, https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/climate-information/extreme-events/us-tornado-climatology/trends

SPC.NOAA.gov, 2015, Fujita Tornado Damage Fujita Scale

Wikipedia.com, 2015, Tornado Records

Wikipedia.com, 2015, Fujita Scale

Wunderground.com, 2015, Enhanced Fujita Scale

Wind Science and Engineering Center, 2004, Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale) submitted to the National Weather Service and Other Interested Users, Texas Tech University




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