83rd Annual

Monday, 10 February 2003
An Assessment of the Variability in Operational Assignment of F-Scale Damage
Jared L. Guyer, NOAA/NWS, Hastings, NE; and T. J. Shea
Poster PDF (355.8 kB)
A challenge operational meteorologists have is properly assessing storm damage. Not only does the storm surveyor have to determine the causation of the particular damage, but in the case of a tornado, they need to properly assign an F-scale rating. This rating can vary depending on the experience, background knowledge, and time spent by the person doing the survey, among a myriad of additional factors. Accurate and consistent assignment of the F-scale is of prime importance for both historical and climatological perspectives.

In an attempt to quantify the variability of F-scale damage assignments, a collection of tornado damage images will be presented in a survey to National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists from various regions of the country. Given the image, each person will be asked to assign an F-scale rating and provide a succinct justification.

Results will be examined for any potential trends or biases between degree of damage, region of the country, or experience level. The goal is to determine, and statistically quantify, the extent of variability when reviewing F-scale damage as a foundation for discussion and debate on current methodology of F-scale assessment.

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