Tornado damage in north Georgia

(Source: WGCL)

The strength of tornadoes is measured by the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which places a tornado into six categories based on wind speed and damage caused.

Unlike hurricanes, which are classified prior to making landfall, the strength of a tornado isn't classified until after it has already touched down.

Once a tornado touches down, a team of meteorologists from the National Weather Service will physically go to the site of the damage and conduct a survey to determine how strong the tornado was. It's from this survey that the tornado receives its official classification:


  • EF-0
    65–85 mph winds
    (Minor damage)

  • EF-1
    86–110 mph winds
    (Moderate damage)

  • EF-2
    111–135 mph winds
    (Considerable damage)

  • EF-3
    136–165 mph winds
    (Severe damage)

  • EF-4
    166–200 mph winds
    (Devastating damage)

  • EF-5
    Winds of more than 200 mph
    (Incredible damage)

The Enhanced Fujita Scale is an updated version of the original Fujita Scale  that was introduced in 1971 by Tetsuya Theodore Fujita.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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