2002 Annual

Wednesday, 16 January 2002: 1:30 PM
The Fujita Scale: It's Abuse and the Cure
Daniel McCarthy, NOAA/SPC, Norman, OK; and J. Schaefer
Abstract submitted for the AMS Third Symposia on Environmental Applications, January 13-18, 2002 at the AMS Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL

The Fujita Scale: It's Abuse and The Cure

Daniel McCarthy1 and Joseph Schaefer

NOAA Storm Prediction Center Norman, OK

The F-scale was formulated by the late Dr. Ted Fujita to strictly evaluate damage caused by tornadoes, not to describe the tornadoes themselves. The media looks at the Fujita Scale as the answer to provide information about tornadoes. But, what does the scale really tell us about tornadoes, and can we improve the scale to escape its current abuses?

This presentation will review the particulars of the Fujita Scale and explain how damage assessments are made to assign an F-Scale number to tornado damage. Over the last several years, the count of tornadoes that cause F0 or F1 damage has increased dramatically. But, are these really very weak tornadoes as defined by the scale, or really unknown in regards to the damage? We will explain some strengths and shortcomings about the methods used to evaluate damage caused by tornadoes and how this information should be used cautiously when referencing to tornado intensity.

1Corresponding Address: 1313 Halley Cir. Norman, OK 73069 Daniel.McCarthy@noaa.gov

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