Public Perception vs. the Tornado Scales (F/EF)

Your opinion on public perception of Tornado Scales

  • They are clueless, a tornado is a tornado, and really do not care.

    Votes: 7 16.3%
  • They may have heard of the scale and have an incorrect understanding of it.

    Votes: 18 41.9%
  • They understand the Tornado Scales on a working level.

    Votes: 4 9.3%
  • They believe it is an indicator of an approaching tornado, not a damage indicating scale.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • They believe it is an indicator of tornadic APPEARANCE and INTENSITY.

    Votes: 20 46.5%
  • They have never even heard of it.

    Votes: 3 7.0%

  • Total voters
    43
Seeking opinion on what YOUR personal belief is regarding the public and the tornado rating scales.

Gene Moore wrote in another post:

[FONT=&quot] Most people in tornado prone areas accept the fact that (so called) mobile homes, now referred to as manufactured homes and modular homes cannot withstand a tornado, even a weak one. Unfortunately, meteorologists over the years have emphasized that any well-built house can probably withstand all but the strongest tornadoes. For instance, "get out of your car, get inside a well built structure and take shelter." I've heard warnings like this many many times over the years. The public has it in their head that they have a chance of survival if they are not hit by an F-5, because only F-5's clear the house to the foundation. Actually, there was a time in my earlier years as a meteorologist that I thought this. How is someone to know their new $260,000 home is not well built? Will everyone check the rafters for hurricane clips, see if the first and second floors are "tied together" and the garage door has proper supports.....I say no, not a chance. Most homes bought are "spec homes," already constructed and sold by large contractors. People go on appearance (it's a strong brick home honey) not by what is behind the sheet-rock.

It should be made clear that people taking shelter anywhere in a home that their house can be blown away, that it may be cleaned to the foundation by an F-3 tornado, or perhaps even weaker! In the past we were taught F-4/5 tornadoes are less than 5 percent of the total number of tornadoes, some figures show 2 percent. Thus, people are willing to gamble that their home won't be hit by that worst case 2 percent. As we drop the strength to F-3 or F-2 for extreme damage to a badly constructed home that drastically changes the percentages that their home could be blown away by what was previously thought to be a weaker tornado.
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I have always been of the opinion the general public has absolutely no working knowledge of the tornado scales, except they falsely believe it is a tornado intensity scale that is judged before or DURING the tornado, and not always a DAMAGE INTENSITY SCALE (brought on by well known Hollywood movies, ETC.). What do you think?
 
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The public will still refer to tornadoes as "F" rather than "EF". I think the vast majority of people will still make their own "assessment", and the "F5 with winds over 300MPH" won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

Personally, I think the scale is an advancement in science... But it will take a couple years for the science folks to adjust to it - I believe most will be afraid to stick their neck out and call for an EF5, so EF4's will be the most dominate violent tornado rating.
 
No 'science folks' will be able to call out an EF5 - that would have to happen with a team and I have a hard time believing that the mets on that team would go through the checklists and come up with a clear determination for EF5 but declare EF4 because of that worry.

Don't forget there is extensive training available from WDTB's webpage that anyone can take along with software you can put on a laptop (PDA too soon) and carry it on your survey.
 
What is the usage syntax for an EF rating? Are we still going to use 'F' or are we actually *calling* the ratings 'EF' as well?
 
Seeking opinion on what YOUR personal belief is regarding the public and the tornado rating scales.

Gene Moore wrote in another post:
I have always been of the opinion the general public has absolutely no working knowledge of the tornado scales, except they falsely believe it is a tornado intensity scale that is judged before or DURING the tornado, and not always a DAMAGE INTENSITY SCALE (brought on by well known Hollywood movies, ETC.). What do you think?

I have to comment on how the questions are worded, especially "working knowledge." The public doesn't need to understand the engineering process to know an F-5 will take their home off the map.

There is an assumption by many meteorologists that the average person is stupid. I know many research meteorologists and forecasters that refer to the general public as "Joe Sixpack." I can't believe anyone in Oklahoma (for example) that listens to TV weather doesn't have a reasonable knowledge of what an F-5 tornado is. Could they do a proper engineering damage survey like Tim Marshall, probably not. Still, the basic understanding is there for F-5 to F-0, it's been discussed in spotter meetings, countless nature TV shows, science books and it's all over the Internet. My children learned about the F-scale in grade school science here in Texas. Will they understand the new EF scale, probably not for quite a while.

Gene Moore
 
I think it depends to a good extent on how much the media lean into the issue. These days, each storm season is prefaced by a fair amount of press and television coverage, and the new EF Scale should fit beautifully into that window of public awareness as an interesting and newsworthy issue. Hammer it home and keep on hammering, and it just may not take all that long for a lot of people to get informed. Will they get a solid understanding of it? Shoot, it's a freakin' mystery to me, detailed as it is. But they could at least get an essential grasp.
 
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