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The Fujita Scale

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The Fujita Scale
10th Deadliest Tornado Year
NOAA Storm Prediction Center
The Fujita Scale was developed by Dr. Theodore Fujita. Fujita's hope was to create estimates of tornado intensity based on damage patterns. Early in his career, Fujita studied typhoons and other storms in Japan. He would later write to professor Horace Byers at the University of Chicago about his predictions on downward spikes of airflow. Byers would later invite Fujita to Chicago to complete more research.

Along with his wife, Sumiko, Fujita introduced the F-scale in a February 1971 paper - Proposed Characterization of Tornadoes and Hurricanes by Area and Intensity. The original Fujita scale contained 6 categories of storms ranging from F0 to F5.

F0 Tornado

  • Wind Speeds of 40-72 mph.
  • Mild damages to trees, homes, and signs.
  • Also known as a gale tornado.

F1 Tornado

  • Wind Speeds of 73-112 mph.
  • Stronger structures show damage. Mobile homes are pushed off their foundations. Vehicles can get pushed off the road.
  • Also known as a moderate tornado.

F2 Tornado

  • Wind Speeds of 113-157 mph.
  • Significant damages to frame structures. Light objects can become projectiles. Trees can be snapped off or uprooted. Mobile homes are demolished.
  • Also known as a significant tornado.

F3 Tornado

  • Wind Speeds of 158-206 mph.
  • Homes and businesses severely damaged. Roofs and walls torn off a homes. Trains are overturned and trees in a forest are uprooted or broken. Cars can be tossed into the air.
  • Also known as a severe tornado.

F4 Tornado

  • Wind Speeds of 207-260 mph.
  • Most homes are leveled. Large objects can become projectiles and the zone of debris increases.
  • Also known as a devastating tornado.

F5 Tornado

  • Wind Speeds of 261-318 mph.
  • Almost total devastation occurs. Houses can be completely lifted from their foundations. Objects larger than cars can be carried by the funnel and later become dangerous projectiles.
  • Also known as an incredible tornado.
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