Natural and Man-Made Disasters,
Historical Natural Disasters
Historical Tornadoes

Significant Tornado Events:
The Fujita-Pearson Scale

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Etymology: Tornadoes are rated from F0 to F5 on the Fujita scale, based on wind speed and damage. The scale was developed by Theodore Fujita of the University of Chicago.

The Fujita-Pearson Scale (FPP) or The Fujita Scale?

“The scale was originally created in 1971 by Dr. Fujita as a way of determining the strength of tornadoes from the damage that they caused. Like many of the contributions of Dr. Fujita, it was not widely accepted when first published.

Two years later, Dr. Fujita and Dr. Pearson published a paper that added in factors related to the width and length of the tornado path, and called the scale the Fujita-Pearson Scale. It was this work that caused the scale to gain acceptance.

The Storm Prediction Center now uses the greatly improved Fujita Scale to determine tornado strength from the damage that the tornado causes after the tornado.

Yet when a spotter or anyone else from the field makes a judgment about the size of a tornado without damage data, but on the width and length of the tornado path, they are making that judgment based on the size of the tornado on the ground, which is the Pearson method.”

Category F0: Gale tornado (40-72 mph); light damage. Some damage to chimneys; break branches off trees; push over shallow-rooted trees; damage to sign boards.

Category F1: Moderate tornado (73-112 mph); moderate damage. The lower limit is the beginning of hurricane wind speed; peel surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off the roads.

Category F2: Significant tornado (113-157 mph); considerable damage. roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars pushed over; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated.

Category F3: Severe tornado (158-206 mph); Severe damage. Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted; heavy cars lifted off ground and thrown.

Category F4: Devastating tornado (207-260 mph); Devastating damage. Well-constructed houses leveled; structure with weak foundation blown off some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.

Category F5: Incredible tornado (261-318 mph); Incredible damage. Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distance to disintegrate; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 yards; trees debarked; incredible phenomena will occur.

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