Severe WX April 7 - 9, 2020 Severe Weather Threat (1 Viewer)


Equus

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Saragossa, AL
Yup... the massive WFO to WFO differences in EF scale application renders a lot of ratings meaningless, knowing it would be a rating higher or lower just over a CWA boundary. It's frustrating to see practically every DI in some surveys tagged as the lowest lower bound speed they are allowed to without explanation (poor construction is everywhere but shouldn't that mean we should be using more average homes as benchmarks instead of overengineered fortresses?) and in at least two cases even going under the minimum to avoid a higher rating. Unless it was sitting by gravity alone on the foundation I just don't understand rating slabbed homes that low; even medium end EF3s in some WFOs leave several walls standing. Here's hoping for some more enforced standardization in the future.
 
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warneagle

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I don't really know how you would enforce standardization across offices without some kind of centralized supervision of it. Having someone from a central office participate in every rating obviously isn't realistic, so you're always going to have different people interpreting what is ultimately a subjective decision differently.
 

Equus

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Saragossa, AL
I just don't know why some WFOs always default to LB, while others basically keep it in line with expected winds for objectively the same damage. The scale is honestly a surprisingly easy tool to use, even regardless of the engineering aspects since it offers the sliding scale of expected winds, so to see the varying opinions of WFOs certainly doesn't do any favors for database consistency
 

Austin Dawg

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Austin Texas
Yeah I am glad they hit the nail on the head with Smithville at least. That event should pretty much be the reference point for classic, textbook EF5 damage.
My brother was there picking up what he could find when they came through surveying after the tornado. His neighborhood is where most of the EF5 damage was. They were going to give it EF4 status until he told them what types of homes have been built there and how recently they were constructed.
 

Austin Dawg

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Austin Texas
Huh... now that you mention it, the survey made a particular note of the age of said homes. Guess that explains that
Yes, he told me it was going to be rated at EF5 before it came out. They said the surveyors thought the houses were older and not built as well. There were some older homes there but he told them several had been built within the last 10 years and up to the latest requirements and most were wiped right off their foundation.

There was a cemetery near that had headstones thrown and damaged. It looks nothing like the town I grew up in.
 

Equus

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Saragossa, AL
It's mind-blowing how anyone could look at Smithville in the immediate aftermath and see anything but an EF5 regardless of home age really. Not that a single digit change in a number filed in Storm Data relieves the suffering felt on that day and the months after but it's nice to know that was cleared up.
 

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