How strong was this tornado? You make the call!

What Fujita Scale rating does this damage represent?

  • Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

Scott Currens

In a few days I'll post information(NWS rating, and links) about this tornado and damage site.

[Broken External Image]:

[Broken External Image]:

[Broken External Image]:

[Broken External Image]:

[Broken External Image]:

Please give your reasoning for the rating you selected.

Scott Currens
Well CRAP!! I put the pics on my website to retrieve from there and it worked once than boom, my server went down :shock: FIRST time in three years....... :x

So, I deleted my post.. :wink:
You can't just click on the red Xs... You need to right-click, choose Properties, copy right address, then paste into another browser window. Any way you can just repost the images, Scott... or just provide links? Thanks!
Right clicked and chose properties to view the images...

Now, without knowing what type of structure this was or photos showing a better overall view, it's hard to apply the subjective F-scale. However, I'll give it a shot. I find it quite interesting that the entire structure has been wiped away, yet a car still remains in the driveway and appears relatively unharmed. Also, fairly light objects on and around the property obviously weren't moved much, if at all, and the trees and fences are still standing. Considering the cinder block type foundation, I'll say that the structure was probably not considered to be well-constructed, and based on that alone, I would say F1 - F2 and vote F2.

Originally posted by Jeff Snyder
You can't just click on the red Xs... You need to right-click, choose Properties, copy right address, then paste into another browser window. Any way you can just repost the images, Scott... or just provide links? Thanks!

That's what I meant. ;)
I think Jason Politte is close on the mark regarding the rating at this spot.

I would go F1 or maybe a low-end F2 as the structure was enevitably a pre-fab set on a CMU foundation with no anchoring whatsoever. A wind of 100mph could've done this. I'm not impressed with the hollow masonry block nor the shrubbery that is in great condition, car that wasn't budged....even most of the fencing is still up served to catch a lot of the insulation. Looks like there's been a clean-up here already as well. Looks like it may have been microburst damage as well perhaps but one needs a broader picture to determine that.

This was a very tricky analysis for two reasons. First off, it's always much tougher to tell the real impact of damage from still photos versus being at the actual scene. Secondly, though all five pics are of the same property, there's no one picture that clearly shows the entire span of the property; it's impossible to get a feel for the overall damage to the entire property in a single photo.

I chose a rating of F1, based on several facts:

The vehicle in the photo is covered by tarp on the backside; this is certainly protecting a busted windshield, and the car looks as if it was parked throughout the even and was otherwise undamaged.

Though cinder blocks are scattered about, giving the impression of total devastation of the building, it's obvious the tornado wasn't strong because wooden flower pots remain undisturbed at the front of the foundation, while all the metal/wire fencing in the background remains upright; no bnding or curvature is noted.

The tree damage is minimal at best. The sapling attached by wires wasn't even affected.

The propane tank looks as if it was rolled off its foundaion and moved maybe a few feet; this is consistent wih low-end tornadic winds; a minimum of around 120mph is required to move large objects such as vehicles (I know, I've been there :) and that car looks as if it wasn't moved at all.

I could be totally wrong, but I'm not impressed with the cinder block damage at all; I do masonry for a living and it doesn't take much to knock down a brick/block wall. Mostly likely airborne debris took it out. It looks like the foundation of a house, but the damage doesn't make sense that way; the surrounding elements (car/small yard objects/fences/trees) are too minimally damaged for this to have been a strong tornado capable of leveling a home.
When I first saw this picture I thought either that was the shortest skinniest F4 in history or that house was made out of straw!!!

Otherwise I can't disagree with what's already been said. Looks to me the worst of it may have hit behind the structure though by the looks of the fencing and the larger trees in the background. I can't imagine those small trees in the front yard were hit by any wind over 40 mph. But based on the tree damage in the background (very first picture) my guess is F1.

I voted F1 with a few observations.

Homes built on masonry foundations are notorious for having more failure points than just about any other type of foundation just because of the number of fastening points required to properly anchor a frame to the masonry wall foundation. In this case it's very apparent that no poured concrete and/or steel reinforcement was used as the first tier of blocks have been displaced, a classic sign of failure in masonry wall foundations.

If the slab that the car is sitting on was a garage, it may have been the case that this may have been the initial failure point for the house. I see no reasonable attempt at anchoring the garage to the concrete slab although I'm sure it would have been fastened to the home.

Keep in mind that most codes in "Tornado Alley" which cover the construction of one and two story wood frame housing are based on load factors which are produced by 90mph wind gusts for a duration of 3 seconds. As many of us know, this kind of load force can be produced by a strong RFD or downburst winds. I'm not sure which direction the garage door would have been facing in this example, but it may be reasonable to assume that it would have encountered such forces at some point during the event and could have initiated the entire failure of the house.

The points that others have already expressed are shared by myself as well.


Gotta agree with F1, for the reasons already stated by several folks.
At first glance, it would be easy to call this F5. I mean, the house is GONE right? However, it strikes me as being poorly constructed. Maybe just cinder blocks resting on each other without any mortar or anything. The fact that a small tree wasn't even cleanly broken, and there is so much light debris nearby wouldn't indicate a strong tornado. I'm not sure if the car was there when the tornado was hit or not, but if It was, then it certainly doesn't appear to have been too disturbed. I say F1.

I couldn't decide between high F2 and low F3.... F2 because of the min. damage to the surroundings and F3 because of the somewhat clean foundation... and this is the first time I have ever tried to "rate" a tornado... I voted F3.....

After looking again at the pics, it does look "already cleaned up" a bit as stated above in another post... If it hasn't been "cleaned up" then where is the house debris? small items in yard look untouched but house & contents are gone??
Voted F1 on this one.
Didn't see any evidence of any anchoring on the foundation, and even the small shrubs looked undisturbed. Couldn't really see any debris left behind except for the insulation in the long after the event were the pictures taken?
Any small flying debris could have taken out the rear windshield of the car. Couldn't see any other damage to the car.
My opinion, poorly constructed house slid off foundation by not-too-strong F1.

More info

The tornado hit on May 4 2003, and pictures are from May 6th.

Clean up prior to the photos was minimal. I believe the owners tried to recover any valuable items left in the debris, other than that no debris was removed. The structure itself was exactly what Gene described it as.

a pre-fab set on a CMU foundation with no anchoring whatsoever

I believe the home rotated of its foundation as a single unit, and then disintegrated into the field in the background. The home was approximately 500 yards south of the centerline of the tornado. Picture #1 is looking north, you can see heavily damaged trees in the top right corner. The tornado passed over those trees moving to the NNE, then passed behind the trees on the top right corner of Picture #1.

Scott Currens