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Which tornado do you think deserved an EF-5 rating? (1 Viewer)


Tuscaloosa tornado. There was some wicked damage as it was exiting city limits NE into Holt. Between Chastain Manor Apartments and the train trestle over Hurricane Creek, I think it achieved EF-5 strength. Absolutely mangled that train track and the train on it.
I think there is a good chance it reached EF-5 strength somewhere between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. That's where it seemed to look the most intense on radar. The problem, ratings wise, is that the area between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham is more rural, so there were fewer structures in that area to use to determine rating.
 

Lori

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I think there is a good chance it reached EF-5 strength somewhere between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. That's where it seemed to look the most intense on radar. The problem, ratings wise, is that the area between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham is more rural, so there were fewer structures in that area to use to determine rating.

I agree with you and Kory, thank God it was rural!!
 

Lori

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I love asking this question! I love hearing about possible EF-5 tornadoes and the damage indicators that might have been overlooked. Maybe a tornado that was struck an area so rural that an assessment was never properly undertaken.

My pick (I might be biased because I live in Arkansas) was the 2014 Vilonia, Ar tornado.

The majority of houses that were swept clean in EF-5 fashion were of sub-standard construction. This I accept but I feel there were other indicators that warranted an EF-5 rating.

1. Deep ground scouring throughout the path of the tornado.
2. Houses outside of Vilonia swept away that were overlooked that appeared to be of "superior construction".
3. Tim Marshall stating the damage was "lower bound".
4. A 25,000 pound object thrown over 3/4 of a mile.
5. Vechciles thrown long distances (over 1/2 a mile), One I believe was never recovered or so badly mangled it wasn't identified.
6. Extreme wind rowing of debris -- comparable to the worst I have ever seen. (Andover, Kansas -- pic included)
7. Very high fatality rate in a small area. The subdivision pictured had 9 fatalities. The tornado warning was very adequate to prepare. Keep in my mind this is a town with a history of violent tornadoes.

What is your pick?

Vilonia also managed to kill someone hiding in a tornado safe room. Pretty incredible.

 

Brice

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That's very heartbreaking because the person was doing everything right in order to survive a tornado if it didn't have a basement.
Similar thing happened with Jarrell, everyone took the precautions and even those with basements didn't survive. Sometimes it's better to get in a car and just gun it.
 

Brice

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Similar thing happened with Jarrell, everyone took the precautions and even those with basements didn't survive. Sometimes it's better to get in a car and just gun it.
[/QUOTE

Yeah, even if we do have better built houses, a violent tornado moving that slow can tear apart literally everything.
 
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I have seen several videos of the Chapman, KS tornado. I haven't been able to find any damage photos or the railroad photos. The videos I have seen of the Chapman tornado were very intense. I remember one well known storm chaser repeatedly stating "That's an F5 tornado" and "this is what a F5 tornado looks like and sounds". I would like to review the tornado better.

Another tornado of mention is the May 12th, 2004 Harper, KS tornado.

Some interesting facts:
1. A lot like Jarrell, a small tornado that lifted and then formed into a 1/2 mile wide tornado.
2. Only struck one farmhouse that was bolted to the foundation. The farmhouse simply vanished.
3. Not a drop of debris from the house could be seen for miles.
4. Large pieces of heavy machinery were never found.
5. Five vehicles on the property were torn into scraps. The majority of the car parts were never found. Engine blocks were scattered and one was in the hole in the basement.
6. Severe ground scouring and complete debar king of trees. Some trees were torn from the ground, debarked and scattered.

Photos provided are from this link : http://www.okstorms.com/images/chases/2004-05-18/20040518_202843_ps.htm
The damage from the Harper County , Kansas tornado on May 12, 2004 does look similar to Jarrell.
 
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Yeah, the "slow moving" argument for the Harper Co. tornado was nonsense. Either that or you'd have to say Jarrell wasn't an F5 because it was also slow moving, which is obviously ridiculous.
Yeah, there have been a number of tornadoes that stayed over an area for 10+ minutes and did nowhere near the damage the Jarell or Harper County, Kansas tornado did. Trying to say that the Jarrell tornado was only a high-end F4 because it was slowing moving is blasphemy. The Harper County, Kansas tornado was rated high-end F4 and yes it is utterly ridiculous.
 
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I guess another strange argument you could make is that fast moving tornadoes that did up to EF4 damage should be rated EF5 because had they have moved a little bit slower they would have caused EF5 damage.
 
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Locomusic gave this write-up of the 1999 Loyal Valley tx tornado

"
other frequently overlooked aspect to this story is that, while the evolution of the small-scale features (what I like to call a "mesoscale accident") is extremely rare and unusual, the same basic scenario has played out several other times. The most directly comparable tornado, to me, is an almost entirely unknown event that occurred on May 11, 1999. The synoptic setup for that day in Texas wasn't especially impressive, but there was tremendous instability. Another one of those mesoscale accidents led to the explosive development of a supercell over the Hill Country, which quickly took on a very deviant SE-SSE motion and just drifted along very slowly.

The tornado touched down in Mason County, near the Llano River a few miles northwest of Loyal Valley. It tore through a very rural area, traveling just seven miles over its 30-35 minute lifespan. It produced significant ground scouring over much of its path, leading one observer to remark that it looked as if the tornado had "dragged itself" across the landscape, digging up the earth as it went. There were only a couple of homes in its path and none of them directly in the core of the most intense damage (thankfully), but it completely destroyed what it did hit and was officially rated F4.

A new truck at one home was torn apart and thrown three-quarters of a mile, and hundreds of head of cattle and various horses, deer, and other animals were killed and badly mutilated. Mesquite trees - which are well-known for their ruggedness - were totally debarked and denuded, and in some cases torn out of the ground and thrown hundreds of yards. That's especially impressive because mesquite trees tend to have strong, deep root systems. Unfortunately the only photos I was able to find so far come from the May 1999 Storm Data.

Here's one of the many mesquite trees debarked and denuded. You can see lots of others in the background.


This is obviously the cover of that issue. You can see more tree damage and scouring in the background.


This is what's left of the home in which the tornado's only fatality occurred. A family of six sought shelter by driving their car into the garage (variously reported as being built from either stone or concrete); the home and garage were demolished and at least partially swept away, and the 74-year-old grandfather was killed when a 2x4 penetrated the car and impaled him. The others miraculously survived with relatively minor injuries.


And here's the hood of the truck I mentioned earlier which was thrown from near the home.


In the same general area, the tornado, which was a three-quarter mile wide multivortex wedge, scoured away more than 700 feet of asphalt from Ranch Rd 152, throwing chunks of it over a thousand yards. Here's what an Air Force meteorologist, who'd surveyed Jarrell two years earlier, had to say about the Loyal Valley tornado.

"Hecke said Tuesday night's tornado likely was an 'F-5' grade - the severest category, marked by winds of more than 260 miles an hour. 'The two homes that were destroyed, the foundations were gone. Trees were stripped of their bark, and 150 to 175 feet of pavement was stripped away' - which occurs only when windspeeds reach F-5 level."

And a TV reporter who'd also witnessed Jarrell said this.

"'I hadn't seen anything like that. I couldn't believe what it did to animals,' said Flores, who also witnessed the destruction at Jarrell. 'The subdivision in Jarrell that was hit by the tornado was wiped clean. This was wiped clean, too, but the cattle - their hides had been ripped right off of them. Some of them were missing heads, and some were caught up and entwined in barbed wire.'

'There was absolutely nothing left of it [the new pickup truck]. It looked like it had been blown up by a bomb or something. Two dead cows were lying at the foot of it ... their skin was gone. They were pink and purplish. No skin. It took the skin right off.'"
 
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Locomusic gave this write-up of the 1999 Loyal Valley tx tornado

"
other frequently overlooked aspect to this story is that, while the evolution of the small-scale features (what I like to call a "mesoscale accident") is extremely rare and unusual, the same basic scenario has played out several other times. The most directly comparable tornado, to me, is an almost entirely unknown event that occurred on May 11, 1999. The synoptic setup for that day in Texas wasn't especially impressive, but there was tremendous instability. Another one of those mesoscale accidents led to the explosive development of a supercell over the Hill Country, which quickly took on a very deviant SE-SSE motion and just drifted along very slowly.

The tornado touched down in Mason County, near the Llano River a few miles northwest of Loyal Valley. It tore through a very rural area, traveling just seven miles over its 30-35 minute lifespan. It produced significant ground scouring over much of its path, leading one observer to remark that it looked as if the tornado had "dragged itself" across the landscape, digging up the earth as it went. There were only a couple of homes in its path and none of them directly in the core of the most intense damage (thankfully), but it completely destroyed what it did hit and was officially rated F4.

A new truck at one home was torn apart and thrown three-quarters of a mile, and hundreds of head of cattle and various horses, deer, and other animals were killed and badly mutilated. Mesquite trees - which are well-known for their ruggedness - were totally debarked and denuded, and in some cases torn out of the ground and thrown hundreds of yards. That's especially impressive because mesquite trees tend to have strong, deep root systems. Unfortunately the only photos I was able to find so far come from the May 1999 Storm Data.

Here's one of the many mesquite trees debarked and denuded. You can see lots of others in the background.


This is obviously the cover of that issue. You can see more tree damage and scouring in the background.


This is what's left of the home in which the tornado's only fatality occurred. A family of six sought shelter by driving their car into the garage (variously reported as being built from either stone or concrete); the home and garage were demolished and at least partially swept away, and the 74-year-old grandfather was killed when a 2x4 penetrated the car and impaled him. The others miraculously survived with relatively minor injuries.


And here's the hood of the truck I mentioned earlier which was thrown from near the home.


In the same general area, the tornado, which was a three-quarter mile wide multivortex wedge, scoured away more than 700 feet of asphalt from Ranch Rd 152, throwing chunks of it over a thousand yards. Here's what an Air Force meteorologist, who'd surveyed Jarrell two years earlier, had to say about the Loyal Valley tornado.

"Hecke said Tuesday night's tornado likely was an 'F-5' grade - the severest category, marked by winds of more than 260 miles an hour. 'The two homes that were destroyed, the foundations were gone. Trees were stripped of their bark, and 150 to 175 feet of pavement was stripped away' - which occurs only when windspeeds reach F-5 level."

And a TV reporter who'd also witnessed Jarrell said this.

"'I hadn't seen anything like that. I couldn't believe what it did to animals,' said Flores, who also witnessed the destruction at Jarrell. 'The subdivision in Jarrell that was hit by the tornado was wiped clean. This was wiped clean, too, but the cattle - their hides had been ripped right off of them. Some of them were missing heads, and some were caught up and entwined in barbed wire.'

'There was absolutely nothing left of it [the new pickup truck]. It looked like it had been blown up by a bomb or something. Two dead cows were lying at the foot of it ... their skin was gone. They were pink and purplish. No skin. It took the skin right off.'"

So this Loyal Valley thing was basically another Jarrell? Really interesting, what exactly is it about that region of Texas that allows for tornadoes to do that sort of damage?
 
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