Which tornado do you think deserved an EF-5 rating? (2 Viewers)


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Madison, WI
Well there was one tornado in 2005 that was rated F4 and two were rated F4 in 2006. I believe they were Madisonville, KY, Monroe City, MO, and Crosstown, MO. That Westminister, TX in above photos was definitely stronger then the three I mentioned. There was also a couple other tornadoes in April of 2006 that should have been rated F4 as well. MEG did those surveys.
Supposedly MKX considered an F4 rating for the Stoughton, WI tornado of August 18, 2005 (which just missed the house where I was living at the time/where my parents still live). They settled on high-end F3 which seemed to be the standard of '05-'06. In my amateur opinion, that was an accurate rating though. The well-built houses in the worst damaged areas generally had textbook F3 damage (only some first-floor interior walls left standing). Houses that were swept away were poorly anchored "sliders." Vehicles were moved/flipped but not hurled long distances and mangled beyond recognition.
 

buckeye05

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Out of curiosity, how would these two instances of damage not be considered worthy of an EF5 rating? I've never been on a damage survey, so I'm just curious as to the logic that goes into ratings like that. Are the offices that assign damage surveys in that region of the country just really conservative about ratings? Or is there so many variables it's just impossible to answer questions like mine? Not trying to be argumentative, honestly just curious about the whole process.
With the exception of the most extreme cases, movement of heavy unanchored objects just isn’t reliable in terms of the main basis for ratings. There is no official DI for this on the EF scale, and they are only used as contextual support. There are plenty of examples of vehicles being thrown hundreds of yards by tornadoes that only caused EF2 structural damage, most recently this March near Abeliene, TX.

Conversely, there are examples of clearly violent tornadoes completely sweeping away houses, but only slightly moving vehicles (Parkersburg, IA for example). I guess it just depends on how the objects “catch” the wind. It’s just surprisingly inconsistent.

However, at a certain point, the most extreme examples of this type of damage can only be the result of a very violent tornado. The oil tanker being lofted a full mile by El Reno 2011, the vehicle being slammed into the top of the Smithville, MS water tower and ending up on the other side of town, and the large metal, multi-ton tank traveling 3/4 of a mile in Vilonia, AR all come to mind. The Tuscaloosa tornado never did anything quite that extreme though.
 
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Missouri
With the exception of the most extreme cases, incidents of heavy unanchored objects just isn’t reliable in terms of the main basis for ratings. There is no official DI for this on the EF scale, and they are only used as contextual support. There are plenty of examples of vehicles being thrown hundreds of yards by tornadoes that only caused EF2 structural damage, most recently this March near Abeliene, TX.

Conversely, there are examples of clearly violent tornadoes completely sweeping away houses, but only slightly moving vehicles (Parkersburg, IA for example). I guess it just depends on how the objects “catch” the wind. It’s just surprisingly inconsistent.

However, at a certain point, the most extreme examples of this type of damage can only be the result of a very violent tornado. The oil tanker being lofted a full mile by El Reno 2011, the vehicle being slammed into the top of the Smithville, MS water tower and ending up on the other side of town, and the large metal, multi-ton tank traveling 3/4 of a mile in Vilonia, AR all come to mind. The Tuscaloosa tornado never did anything quite that extreme though.
Interesting explanation, thanks. Come to think of it there weren't any instances of the Tuscaloosa lofting vehicles significant distances and mangling them beyond repair, at least not that I know of. Tuscaloosa reminds me of Edmonton in that respect, being borderline-F/EF5.
 

buckeye05

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Exactly. It didn’t do anything that a high-end EF4 was clearly incapable of doing.

Another interesting case was the Mize, MS tornado from last December. It threw multiple pickup trucks 200 yards into a pasture, though the house they originated sustained low to mid-EF3 damage at most. However, it should be noted that these vehicles were not severely mangled. More violent tornadoes tend to disassemble, strip down to the frame, and mangle the vehicles they throw beyond recognition.
 
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pohnpei

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shanghai
With the exception of the most extreme cases, movement of heavy unanchored objects just isn’t reliable in terms of the main basis for ratings. There is no official DI for this on the EF scale, and they are only used as contextual support. There are plenty of examples of vehicles being thrown hundreds of yards by tornadoes that only caused EF2 structural damage, most recently this March near Abeliene, TX.

Conversely, there are examples of clearly violent tornadoes completely sweeping away houses, but only slightly moving vehicles (Parkersburg, IA for example). I guess it just depends on how the objects “catch” the wind. It’s just surprisingly inconsistent.

However, at a certain point, the most extreme examples of this type of damage can only be the result of a very violent tornado. The oil tanker being lofted a full mile by El Reno 2011, the vehicle being slammed into the top of the Smithville, MS water tower and ending up on the other side of town, and the large metal, multi-ton tank traveling 3/4 of a mile in Vilonia, AR all come to mind. The Tuscaloosa tornado never did anything quite that extreme though.
I remember there was a tornado on july 25 2000 in Grantie Falls MN mainly did F2-F3 structure damage but was rated F4 by one single vehicle damage. I am not familiar with this case so I can be wrong about this.
I also can recall many cases that the well constructed house was leveled by tornado but the car in its garage wasn't moved at all such as the EF4 point of Linwood KS last year. This was really an interesting and intriguing problem.
 
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pohnpei

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shanghai
I think tornado can throw vehicles and other large objects long distance mainly because of its strong verticle winds which can exceed 80m/s in some cases. It is not included in the EF scale but still, a part of strength of tornados.
 

buckeye05

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I think tornado can throw vehicles and other large objects long distance mainly because of its strong verticle winds which can exceed 80m/s in some cases. It is not included in the EF scale but still, a part of strength of tornados.
I think this is a good point. Tornadoes have both a horizontal and vertical component. Some moderately intense tornadoes may have a disproportionately intense vertical component, easily lifting vehicles, while some violent tornadoes may lack a more prominent vertical component, causing less intense vehicle movement/damage than expected.

I don’t think that purely horizontal winds are very good at throwing vehicles. It’s interesting to note how in Josh Morgerman’s Hurricane Dorian video, multiple vehicles in the parking lot are exposed to winds at or approaching 200 MPH, with the paint blasted off some of them. However, none of them went flying or were badly mangled. I strongly feel that this is due to a lack of vertical winds in a hurricane.
 
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190
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Missouri
Well there was one tornado in 2005 that was rated F4 and two were rated F4 in 2006. I believe they were Madisonville, KY, Monroe City, MO, and Crosstown, MO. That Westminister, TX in above photos was definitely stronger then the three I mentioned. There was also a couple other tornadoes in April of 2006 that should have been rated F4 as well. MEG did those surveys.
Crosstown, MO was the last F4 on the original Fujita scale. This thing is interesting as it had a path very similar to the Tri-State Tornado, crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois and traveling just north of Gorham and Murphysboro before dissipating.
 
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190
Location
Missouri
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
And somehow the couple survived in that basement despite being pelted with debris. Crazy.
 

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