Most underrated tornadoes?

Aug 25, 2022
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Fairfax, Virginia
I am curious to see what you guys think are the most underrated tornadoes are. It can be that a tornado should have been rated stronger on the F/EF scale, or a tornado that no one talks about. Me personally, I think the 2011 El Reno tornado was incredibly overshadowed by the rest of the tornadoes that year, then the 2013 El Reno tornado.
 
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Sep 26, 2022
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Allendale, Michigan
2013 EL Reno is NOT overshadowed in the slightest, to be brutally honest its kind-of overrated due to its infamy. BUT a tornado that is underrated in my opinion is the 2004 hallam F4. that tornado kinda ended up in being greensburg-style scenario by engulfing the whole town at its max width, luckily there was only 1 fatality. it could have been MUCH worse. it was 2.5 miles wide at the time, making it 2nd largest to el Reno. i am generally surprised people do not talk about it. maybe its because it has BARELY any video on it during its climax.
 
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Aug 25, 2022
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2013 EL Reno is NOT overshadowed in the slightest, to be brutally honest its kind-of overrated due to its infamy. BUT a tornado that is underrated in my opinion is the 2004 hallam F4. that tornado kinda ended up in being greensburg-style scenario by engulfing the whole town at its max width, luckily there was only 1 fatality. it could have been MUCH worse. it was 2.5 miles wide at the time, making it 2nd largest to el Reno. i am generally surprised people do not talk about it. maybe its because it has BARELY any video on it during its climax.
No, I was talking about the May 24, 2011 EF-5 in El Reno, not 2013.
 
The Vilonia Arkansas 2014 tornado was not rated an EF5 but rather an EF4. If you read this article, Why April 27 Tornado Wasn't EF5 (kark.com), it explains a fair argument scientifically why it was rated an EF4. In the general sense of damage however that was caused, a lot of the homes in this picture were put down to just the slab. Thats basically and EF5... yeah? But in general, the article makes a good point that the building construction of the homes were faltered and not built to the best of standards.

1664819488346.png
 

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Aug 25, 2022
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i know, i was implying that 2013 was overrated, not 2011.
I don't think El Reno 2013 was overrated. Yes, it did not cause much damage, but the erratic behavior of the subvortices is enough to make it noteworthy. But being the widest tornado at 2.6 miles wide, the second fastest windspeeds recorded on earth (296 mph via doppler), and the first known chaser deaths directly via tornado, especially because it was multiple members of Team Twistex (Tim and Paul Samaras, and Carl Young), who were known for being especially careful around tornadoes, calling something like that overrated is VERY much of a stretch. It left a huge hole in the chasing community, and made many question the ethics and aggressive tactics, as well as many people changing the way they chased.
 
Aug 25, 2022
33
25
6
Fairfax, Virginia
I don't think El Reno 2013 was overrated. Yes, it did not cause much damage, but the erratic behavior of the subvortices is enough to make it noteworthy. But being the widest tornado at 2.6 miles wide, the second fastest windspeeds recorded on earth (296 mph via doppler), and the first known chaser deaths directly via tornado, especially because it was multiple members of Team Twistex (Tim and Paul Samaras, and Carl Young), who were known for being especially careful around tornadoes, calling something like that overrated is VERY much of a stretch. It left a huge hole in the chasing community, and made many question the ethics and aggressive tactics, as well as many people changing the way they chased.
Also, let me know if any of this information is incorrect, and I will fix it.
 
Sep 26, 2022
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Also, let me know if any of this information is incorrect, and I will fix it.
You are on point and provide good evidence for your reply. and i really hope your right with this, but the only thing i will question is the changing on how people chased. I dont think everyone has changed after El Reno, Chasers are STILL making the same mistakes. And mark my words, if things do not change, history will repeat itself. El Reno could have been MUCH worse if it continued into the more populated areas. and with how bad chasing in a city is, MUCH more chasers (most likely amateur chasers or enthusiasts like me) and people could have died.
 
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Aug 9, 2012
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stormoptics.smugmug.com
I'd argue that pretty much most tornadoes are likely underrated unless there is a Dopper on Wheels scanning them. Most tornadoes go through just rural areas attaining EF-0 or EF-U ratings, yet if they were to hit more populated areas, they would probably come up with much more significant ratings given the lack of DI's over open country. A good example would be the Morton, TX tornado this year, it likely was stronger than EF-2, however due to its slow motion (nearly stationary) and very rural area, that was the highest DI available to rate it based upon its damage.


This is a thread I think we probably have delved into before and it's something that will probably not go away until we revise the EF scale, even then there will be ones that fall through the cracks and get under-rated. In other words, I could list on for days until I'm blue in the face the number of tornadoes that were likely under-rated; as well there is likely a long list of ones from before the 1970s that were over-rated. The tornado itself isn't what is being rated, it is the damage that it causes and that is used to get an estimated wind speed of what caused *that* particular damage at *that* particular point.
 
Aug 9, 2012
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stormoptics.smugmug.com
2013 EL Reno is NOT overshadowed in the slightest, to be brutally honest its kind-of overrated due to its infamy. BUT a tornado that is underrated in my opinion is the 2004 hallam F4. that tornado kinda ended up in being greensburg-style scenario by engulfing the whole town at its max width, luckily there was only 1 fatality. it could have been MUCH worse. it was 2.5 miles wide at the time, making it 2nd largest to el Reno. i am generally surprised people do not talk about it. maybe its because it has BARELY any video on it during its climax.
Most of the people who chased back then don't really get on here today. A lot of people nowadays have short memories when it comes to storms. That is why I always say when people are down and sad about missing an event, just wait a week. People will move on and forget. Just how it is.

Best video that there is out there online of the Daykin/Hallam, NE F4 tornado and its "skull-like" looking collar cloud. Back in the day we used to call this the "skull-headed tornado" because of the skull face appearance that appears at points in the video on the outside of the tornado cyclone.

 

Jamie H

EF0
Feb 25, 2022
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I suppose you could say the Hackleburg / Phil Campbell and Smithville EF-5's are underrated in that focus goes to the Tuscaloosa / Birmingham EF-4 from the 2011 outbreak, being that it was on live TV and went through populated areas. Similarly worth a mention is the Mulhall F4 from 1999, for the same reasons.
 

Jeff Duda

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Oct 7, 2008
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One way to examine the tornado base for "most underrated" would be to start with the Storm Events Database from NCEI and look just at tornadoes getting the EF0 and EFU ratings. NWS offices are supposed to rate tornadoes EFU if they didn't move over any substantial damage indicators. However, I think some laziness remains in damage surveys, and many tornadoes that only impact open land are rated EF0.

Last year, Josh Wurman published a new paper documenting a pretty significant disparity between the moble-radar-sampled near-ground wind speeds in tornadoes and the NWS ratings they received. The relationship is that many tornadoes are rated 1-2 EF scale categories lower than they really were. And this data set is high quality. See the paper here: https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.2021535118

As far as more subjective opinions of underrated tornadoes, nothing beats the 2013 El Reno tornado being rated EF3 instead of the EF5, which it clearly was.
 
Apr 23, 2010
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I suppose you could say the Hackleburg / Phil Campbell and Smithville EF-5's are underrated in that focus goes to the Tuscaloosa / Birmingham EF-4 from the 2011 outbreak, being that it was on live TV and went through populated areas. Similarly worth a mention is the Mulhall F4 from 1999, for the same reasons.
I have often wondered what Mulhall looked like from within.

Hallam almost looked supernatural…so help me, I could see faces.
 
May 19, 2020
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Eastern KS
I always feel like the Trousdale tornado May 4th 2007 is a little underrated. Greensburg overshadowed it and rightfully so, but it always had me pondering what its rating would've been if there would've been had it actually impacted something. I don't wish a monster like that on anyone though.
 

C M May

Enthusiast
Nov 11, 2022
4
0
1
S/W Ohio
I am curious to see what you guys think are the most underrated tornadoes are. It can be that a tornado should have been rated stronger on the F/EF scale, or a tornado that no one talks about. Me personally, I think the 2011 El Reno tornado was incredibly overshadowed by the rest of the tornadoes that year, then the 2013 El Reno tornado.
I agree with you on 2011 El-Reno. Not so much underrated but under covered. I think folks in the weather community at all levels, from seasoned chasers to experts all the way to enthusiasts appreciate this storm (as well as all the catastrophic damage type events). I think it’s obvious why the MSM covers the storms hitting larger population areas, and I’m sure you do too. But to us folks that are truly fascinated by tornadoes are interested in them for different reasons than the MSM and casual interest folks. I think the casual folks as well as TV news prefer a backdrop with structures still having a wall or two and debris strewn about for their reporting on TV. To them and the average person it’s very dramatic. Whereas, (let’s just call us all “weather folk”) are more interested in the house that is slabbed and wondering what type of anchor bolts were used, or did they use toe nailing or etc…..
I think the non weather folk and TV folk just don’t get it. As a result when you tune in for the MSM (not sure why anyone would watch MSM, but that’s a whole different topic) you’ll see a reporter standing the middle of a street in a Tuscaloosa neighborhood with homes having a wall or two standing. When folks like me and/or a lot of us would like to see them on an empty slab in Smithville MS.
For fun, I’ll throw out one that I think is/was under reported or underrated. (Jarrell and Mayflower are too easy) so how about…..Brandenburg Kentucky or Sayler Park Ohio from the ‘74 Super Outbreak.
More recently, maybe smaller communities (and harder hit areas IMO) from the December 2021 tornadoes. But instead of Mayfield, how about the damage in Dawson Springs or Bremen, KY?