I don't agree with you there, that is if you know what your doing and specifically what to look for!!! As for the topic, I hate the enhanced scale!!!Lori, it is generally very difficult to accurately tell the difference between EF4 and EF5 wind speeds. because once winds exceed 170 mph......most structures, and all vehicles, trailers, etc will be destroyed. .
No, it'll just need to be updated for different construction standards; of course, it's still a question of applying a wind speed to damage to a structure based on those standards, and that's always going to have some flaws since you can't account for unique features of certain buildings, minor topographical features that could have influenced the damage to that structure, etc. That's why contextual damage is so important (even though you don't always get all the same contextual damage even in storms of relatively similar strength).The flaw with the EF scale and the F scales before it, is that it is strictly a damage scale. Wind speed estimates are added on after the scope of the damage has been completely realized. While the scale does have guidelines the interpretation of those guidelines and the application of the ratings is done by humans, and as humans will often do, their will generally be differences of opinion. The line between EF-4 and especially high end EF-4 and EF-5 is far from clear cut it's more like splitting hairs to be honest. I would almost prefer using categories such as weak, strong, and violent. Another potential problem for the EF scale is that with better construction will it eventually become useless anyways?
I don't agree with you there, that is if you know what your doing and specifically what to look for!!! As for the topic, I hate the enhanced scale!!!
There's nothing at all wrong with disagreeing with others... Very often that can be the spring to studying and re-looking at events and learning from mistakes and learning new things that forward the science, be it meteorology or another, totally different field. It sounds as if you're taking my statement personally though, that was NOT my intention at all! I was just stating my personal opinion. I'm obviously very familiar with Dr Fujita's work. His work forwarded the science as much or more than any other in this field to date.You don't agree with me? Well Bobby, we'll just have to disagree. I began researching wind speed vs wind damage assessments more than four decades ago; am a student of legendary tornado researcher Dr.Theodore T. Fujita. In September of 1992, I drove down to south Dade county, Florida and surveyed hurricane Andrew's north eyewall as likely possessing sustained winds of at least 155-160 mph, with peak gusts of 190-200 mph. At the time, I was scoffed at by a few meteorologists, including two at NHC, but none are laughing at me since 2002 when NOAA's Hurricane Research Division upgraded Andrew's landfall intensity in south Florida from 145 mph (gusting to 175 mph)......to 165 mph (gusting to 200 mph).
Bobby, my humble apologies if I came off too strong. I agree with you today and when the Enhanced Fujita scale was implemented in 2007 that it was not going to be accurate in all situations. There were flaws with the original Fujita-Pearson rating scale created in the 1970's, and the EF-scale. The only reason I mentioned hurricane Andrew in 1992 was it was a great success of mine, even though it took more than a decade for wind damage and hurricane researchers with the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA to reevaluate the sustained winds from 145 mph to 165 mph utilizing new technology, including eyewall dropsondes. Unfortunately, my days of researching wind speed vs damage is nearing an end, as I'm battling stage 4 sarcoma, and only have a life expectancy of a few more months per my Oncology team at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.There's nothing at all wrong with disagreeing with others... Very often that can be the spring to studying and re-looking at events and learning from mistakes and learning new things that forward the science, be it meteorology or another, totally different field. It sounds as if you're taking my statement personally though, that was NOT my intention at all! I was just stating my personal opinion. I'm obviously very familiar with Dr Fujita's work. His work forwarded the science as much or more than any other in this field to date.
Without a doubt, Dr Fujita was well ahead of his time.... My point was with the Enhanced Fujita Scale, compared to Dr Fujita's original scale, that actually included an F-6 level and according to a fellow meteorologist that I trust, Dr Fujita personally considered rating an Alabama tornado in the mid to late 1970's as an F-6 (that would, according to Dr Fujita be where the difficulty in determining damage and wind assessment would especially come, between F-5 and F-6).....
I have a personal gripe with the Enhanced scale, for multiple reasons... However, my personal point was, if one knows what they're looking for, the difference between an EF-4 and EF-5 can be determined. Now had the discussion been about the differences between an F-4 and F-5 in Dr Fujita's original scale, I would agree that the differences become harder to determine, but still I would think a student of Dr Fujita's would agree that even then, if one knows what to look for, in a ground survey, it can be accomplished!
I also believe that the Enhanced Fujita Scale is VERY confusing to the general public!!! That is one of many gripes I have with the Enhanced Scale, which is what I was speaking to... Were we to use the Enhanced scale's rating factors, to judge MANY past tornadoes pre-2007, there would be a substantial number of pre-2007 F-4 tornadoes, that would now be rated as EF-5's.....
Let's go a different direction though... Take the April 27, 2011 Tuscaloosa tornado, that hit my market's main population center and the tornado that got so much more publicity, due to two main factors, in my opinion; 1) the fact that it plowed through a downtown metro-population center on nation wide TV and 2) because that's the tornado that the President choose to visit the site of.... I surveyed that storm, in multiple counties that it plowed through, not just Tuscaloosa. I remember so many in and out of the industry, some with FAR more knowledge and experience that I have, that were calling for an EF-5 rating of that storm. Based on the Enhanced scale, I believe that it was rated properly. However, had we still been under the guidelines on the original Fujita scale, in the Tuscaloosa Metro area, that tornado would only have been rated as a F-3!
I said all of that to make this point, someone that knows what they are looking for, can tell the difference between an ENHANCED-F-4 tornado's and an ENHANCED-F-5 tornado's damage rating, if they are doing an on the ground survey of the damage! The step by step process for rating tornadoes, using the Enhanced Fujita Scale, is still available on the Texas Tech University's website at; http://www.depts.ttu.edu/nwi/Pubs/FScale/EFScale.pdf and if one follows that process, I stand by my original opinion, as I stated.....
As for what you brought up concerning Hurricane Andrew.... I don't personally know you and I wasn't personally on the ground in Florida after Andrew. Based on a number of different papers and even a doctoral thesis I've read, over the years, I do agree with the adjustments that NOAA made, years later. What exactly that had to do with, or precisely what specific role you personally played in NOAA's adjustment to Andrew's wind speed, I don't know, again I don't know you personally.... I do believe that everyone that works in the various different areas of meteorology and the geo-science field should be working toward the advancement of the science though, from their perspectives, knowledge, educations, and positions. Me, I'm a simple broadcaster and that is the area I try to keep myself in, however I do play my small part in the field.... If the advancement of the science is truly the intention of someone in the field, then I believe that disagreements and debates, along with the presentation of facts and hardcore science CAN forward our field. However, if we are to do this successfully, I do believe that we must place principals before personalities! As Albert Einstein said; "Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."
Best of luck to you in your future endeavors. Thanks for the work you've done and I hope that you'll continue to do! Many don't realize just how "young", for lack of a better word, our science still is! Oh yes, we have made leaps and bounds, especially in the past 40-45 years, the past 25-30 in particular, but we are still FAR from being an exact science! It is, in my opinion, the work of good and dedicated men, like yourself and especially the generations coming up behind us, that will continue to advance this science. We don't all have to agree, but it does further the science, in my humble opinion, if we are at least open minded, not boisterous, and leave our pride at the door....
Again, best of luck to you and maybe I'll get to know you better in the future and learn from your wisdom and experience, but this is one area, I guess we will have to agree to disagree on...... Have a fantastic day!!!
Bobby, my humble apologies if I came off too strong. I agree with you today and when the Enhanced Fujita scale was implemented in 2007 that it was not going to be accurate in all situations. There were flaws with the original Fujita-Pearson rating scale created in the 1970's, and the EF-scale. The only reason I mentioned hurricane Andrew in 1992 was it was a great success of mine, even though it took more than a decade for wind damage and hurricane researchers with the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA to reevaluate the sustained winds from 145 mph to 165 mph utilizing new technology, including eyewall dropsondes. Unfortunately, my days of researching wind speed vs damage is nearing an end, as I'm battling stage 4 sarcoma, and only have a life expectancy of a few more months per my Oncology team at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
I wish you great success and again offer my apologies.
If we used 2017-2018 standards on 4/27, we may have wound up with 0 EF-5s, and I'm only half joking.It's pretty much beating a dead horse at this point, but what is going on with this one?
I can understand an EF3 rating if grass is scoured from one hillside or in a streak a few feet long, but this is ridiculous...Grass scouring has always been one of the best indicators of a violent tornado (more than a slabbed house ever has, to be honest). Now with the current La Plata syndrome I seriously doubt they would have pulled the trigger on an EF4 rating, since that would have made this the first F4/EF4 tornado in Wyoming since 1987, but widespread grass scouring is definitely a strong indicator of a tornado at EF4 strength or higher.
This also makes me seriously doubt that the Plainfield, IL, Chandler, MN, and Philadelphia, MS tornadoes would have been rated F5/EF5 in 2018 since their ratings were based on soil and grass/crop scouring.
Maybe there are too many levels to consider. Maybe I'm simplifying it but it seems like the differences between a 4 and a 5 from a layman's point of view, they are both very catastrophic.Vilonia, Chickasha, and Goldsby will still always be the 3 most obvious EF5s that we're errounously rated EF4. Vilonia irks me the most, especially given how the lead surveyor verbaly communicated his incredibly biased interpretation of the EF scale after the event, which was basically a sugar coated version of "I don't believe in EF5 house damage." Not to mention The historical significance of it being the first clear cut instance of EF5 damage in Arkansas state history, yet it wasn't rated as such. Frustrating.
I feel like one could argue a case for Rochelle-Fairdale as well as Abeline-Chapman too, but those are a little more borderline.
As far as Tuscaloosa, I may be in the minority here, but I feel that high-end EF4 is technically the correct rating. At the end of the day, no well-built and anchor bolted homes were swept away by that tornado, and Chastain Manor was nailed directly into a concrete slab, which is honestly terrible construction for such a large building. Given, the damage to the railroad trestle was extremely impressive. So was the Tuscaloosa tornado an EF5? Almost certainly. Did it produce any legitimate, clear-cut EF5 damage? It did not. Kind of a good example of how the scale is not perfect.