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Enhanced Fujita Ratings Debate Thread

ColdFront

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Factoring in the speed of the storm would be stupid, because it's literally a part of the tornadic winds. Translational velocity + rotational velocity = the winds from a tornado that impact structures. End of story. It would be duration of said winds that would be in question.
That’s exactly what it was. I mixed up speed vs wind duration trying to recall what was in the presentation posted in this thread. I’ll correct my initial comment.
 

Wind Driven Coconut

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Really good discussion here. After much of the curiosity about final rating for Rolling Fork I started a little curiosity research about how many EF-5 tornadoes would be added to the list if the threshold for EF-5 was lowered to 190 mph. Seems there would be approximately 7 since 2013: Washington, IL, Vilonia, AR, Rochelle, IL, Chapman, KS, Mayfield, KY, and Rolling Fork (possible Bassfield but I could not find a final windspeed on that one).

I’m sure it’s way too simple of a solution to simply lower the threshold for EF5 attain ability, which is obviously more likely to be achieved in smaller towns simply by looking at the small sample size above, but the flip side is that currently there is a six level scale that exists to determine tornado strength in which apparently the highest level on that scale is unachievable in 98% of all cases. That makes no sense to me either.
 
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Really good discussion here. After much of the curiosity about final rating for Rolling Fork I started a little curiosity research about how many EF-5 tornadoes would be added to the list if the threshold for EF-5 was lowered to 190 mph. Seems there would be approximately 7 since 2013: Washington, IL, Vilonia, AR, Rochelle, IL, Chapman, KS, Mayfield, KY, and Rolling Fork (possible Bassfield but I could not find a final windspeed on that one).

I’m sure it’s way too simple of a solution to simply lower the threshold for EF5 attain ability, which is obviously more likely to be achieved in smaller towns simply by looking at the small sample size above, but the flip side is that currently there is a six level scale that exists to determine tornado strength in which apparently the highest level on that scale is unachievable in 98% of all cases. That makes no sense to me either.

In practice, seems to be more like 99.998% of all cases.
 

Wind Driven Coconut

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In practice, seems to be more like 99.998% of all cases.
Admittedly, I was being generous :)

The EF5 unicorn status should be applied for other rating systems as well:
Cat 6 hurricane - winds above 275 mph
KBB Used Car Rating - add “never owned” to the Condition question
6th star for Amazon ratings for exemplary service - but gray out the option so it can’t be selected.

Yes all of the above are silly, but how is it any different than having a 6th level of intensity for a tornado that can no longer be achieved short of a “lottery odds” hit on the one place in any city where the construction was good enough to make that determination?

Since it does seem much more possible at 190, seems a very easy fix, and the number of tornadoes that would be added in the last 10 years (seven) is pretty much on par with the average prior to this new approach.
 

wasatch

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I think one of the Pilger tornadoes was rated 190 also... in theory I think you'd also have to bump Tuscaloosa (perhaps some other 4/27 ones?) and one or two of the 5/24/11 OK high EF4's to EF5...
 

pohnpei

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Really good discussion here. After much of the curiosity about final rating for Rolling Fork I started a little curiosity research about how many EF-5 tornadoes would be added to the list if the threshold for EF-5 was lowered to 190 mph. Seems there would be approximately 7 since 2013: Washington, IL, Vilonia, AR, Rochelle, IL, Chapman, KS, Mayfield, KY, and Rolling Fork (possible Bassfield but I could not find a final windspeed on that one).

I’m sure it’s way too simple of a solution to simply lower the threshold for EF5 attain ability, which is obviously more likely to be achieved in smaller towns simply by looking at the small sample size above, but the flip side is that currently there is a six level scale that exists to determine tornado strength in which apparently the highest level on that scale is unachievable in 98% of all cases. That makes no sense to me either.
The wind speed for Bassfield was 190mph and Pilger 2014 was 191mph. Chapman was 200mph in ncdc but still 180mph in nws website.
 

andyhb

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Today is the day we get endlessly reminded that it’s been 10 years since an EF5 whilst fully knowing that that’s simply not true.
 
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andyhb

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Well this article ought to stir the hornets' nest a bit.

Marshall saying "there's no difference between a high end EF4 and an EF5" is pretty hmmm-worthy when it's obvious that public perception of an event is changed pretty dramatically following a 5.
 
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Tanner

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Well this article ought to stir the hornets' nest a bit.

Marshall saying "there's no difference between a high end EF4 and an EF5" is pretty hmmm-worthy when it's obvious that public perception of an event is changed pretty dramatically following a 5.

Yeah, I mean the title says it all. We have "changed the way we rate tornadoes" to become more stringent when going above EF4, for whatever reason. It isn't because the philosophy of rating tornadoes has changed, it's the execution and reasoning that has changed. Of course, this relates solely to the fact that after Moore, this apparent shift started to rear its ugly head.

That being said, I like to check in. What tornadoes specifically from the 2010's/20's garner an EF5 rating pre-2013? The blind obvious being Vilonia for most of the census here.
 

jiharris0220

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Well, to mark down the obvious ones, imo.
Goldspy, Chickasaw, (surprise surprise) Vilonia, Rochelle, and Bremen.

These aren’t exactly what I would consider ef5s, but have no doubt contained these wind speeds.
New wren, Tuscaloosa, Washington, Bassfield, and Rolling folk.
 

TH2002

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That being said, I like to check in. What tornadoes specifically from the 2010's/20's garner an EF5 rating pre-2013? The blind obvious being Vilonia for most of the census here.
I still may have missed a few

2011:
New Wren, Tuscaloosa, Ringgold, Cordova*, Ohatchee*, Chickasha, Goldsby, Berlin*

2012:
Henryville*

2013:
Granbury*, Washington*

2014:
Vilonia, Louisville, Stanton, Pilger*, Pilger East*

2015:
Fairdale, Cisco*, Holly Springs

2016:
Chapman

2017:
Perryville*

2018:
Camp Crook

2020:
Bassfield*

2021:
Mayfield*

*denotes tornadoes that are more debatable, or don't have enough information available.
 

UK_EF4

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Thought this was an interesting snippet from that article, given Tim Marshall also surveyed Vilonia (though from what I am aware he wasn't shown the most intense damage? - someone correct me if I am wrong).
 

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andyhb

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Thought this was an interesting snippet from that article, given Tim Marshall also surveyed Vilonia (though from what I am aware he wasn't shown the most intense damage? - someone correct me if I am wrong).
None of the most intense damage/potential highest end DIs were in his report.
 

Austin Dawg

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"there's no difference between a high end EF4 and an EF5"
Despicable Me Reaction GIF
 

Sawmaster

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Nope, it's a fairy-tale story where no matter how bad the damage, there will never ever be one of those nasty evil EF5 tornadoes ever again, and if they gan get rid of the EF4 classifications then they will denounce them too...

Off with their heads!
 

TH2002

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Felt this was more appropriate to post here than the dedicated Matador thread...

Might be controversial, but to be completely honest I think the requirement of needing to call in a QRT to go above EF3 should just be abolished. With countless examples of this requirement being abused (Robinson, McNairy County, and most recently Matador among many other examples) I think it's pretty clear it does nothing but encourage the behavior of WFO's who are too lazy to care enough about rating their tornadoes appropriately. They just slap violent tornadoes with a high-end EF3 rating and call it a day, not wanting to call in a QRT because it's apparently too much of a hassle for them to do their job properly. Proponents of the EF scale as an engineering standard love to proclaim that their scale doesn't overrate tornadoes, but they sure don't seem to care that the stringency of the scale itself and its requirements for rating higher-end events leads to tornadoes being underrated instead. (In all fairness, not sure if the QRT requirement was introduced with the EF scale itself or not, but it certainly doesn't help anything either.)

Besides, if tornadoes being overrated is really their concern, why can't the higher-ups send in a secondary survey team on their own accord to discuss a downgrade, as was done with La Plata? If anything, all this crap with inaccurate tornado ratings started with La Plata because engineers took the easy way out by blaming the Fujita scale itself instead of a survey team's inaccurate application of it.

Should also note that the very first tornadoes to be rated on the new scale (Groundhog Day 2007) produced a questionable rating, the DeLand EF3 that probably should have been EF4. Regardless, things more or less returned to a more reasonable pace starting with Greensburg and before the ASCE's "survey" of Joplin and LZK's survey of Vilonia screwed everything up yet again. The surveys from the November 2022 outbreak gave me a glimmer of hope that perhaps "Vilonia Syndrome" was finally a thing of the past, but of course that hope has since been crushed.

Even from 2007-2013 there were some questionable ratings (from 2011 alone: New Wren, Tuscaloosa, Etna AR, Berlin ND, and Almena KS as examples) so the EF scale and its application were never perfect (especially following it "by the book") but there's zero doubt that the past decade of damage surveying has run the scale into the ground much like 2002-2006 did for the original scale. And of course, in some cases surveyors are just lazy (*cough cough* FWD and MEG), and lazy surveyors are always going to be lazy no matter what accommodations you throw at them. However, things were and should be better than they are now.
 
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