Stormy Weather


What is the Fujita and Pearson Tornado Scale?

The Fujita and Pearson Tornado Scale—usually just referred to as the Fujita Scale—was introduced in 1971 by University of Chicago professor T. Theodore Fujita (1920–1998) and Allen Pearson (1925-), who was then the director of the National Severe Storms Forecast Center. The scale ranked tornadoes by their wind speed, path, length, and width. The ranking ranges from F0 (very weak) to F5 (incredibly destructive). This scale was replaced in 2007 by the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Fujita and Pearson Tornado Scale

Scale Speed (mph/kph) Damages
F0 40–72/64–116 Light damage: damage to trees, billboards, and chimneys
F1 73–112/117–180 Moderate damage: mobile homes pushed off their foundations and cars pushed off roads
F2 113–157/181–253 Considerable damage: roofs torn off, mobile homes demolished, and large trees uprooted
F3 158–206/254–331 Severe damage: even well-constructed homes torn apart, trees uprooted, and cars lifted off the ground
F4 207–260/332–418 Devastating damage: houses leveled, cars thrown, and objects become flying missiles
F5 261–318/419–512 Incredible damage: structures lifted off foundations and carried away; cars become missiles. Less than 2% of tornadoes are in this category
F6 319–380/513–611 No F6 has been recorded, but if such a twister occurred it would be absolutely devastating


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