Saturday, August 31, 2013

Going Back to the Original Fujita Scale

What would be the advantage of admitting weather science made a mistake in converting from the original Fujita Scale to the EF scale? I see at least three advantages:

1) The top value (319 mph) is far more useful than "more than 200 mph." It is apparently quite accurate, at least based on what now we know. Might there be a peak gust of 325 somewhere? Sure. But, 319 as a top value seems close. 

2) The Rozell, Kansas, tornado would be rated:
F-4 (measured winds) AND
f-2 (estimate from damage) 
People doing a database search would be free do an "estimate-only" search and it would appear nothing has changed. Consistency would be preserved. Building designers could do a search by wind speed and retrieve much more precise information. 

3) So much work was done with the original Fujita scale (Tom Grazulis "Significant Tornadoes", and others) we would not have to go back and re-rate the tornadoes prior to 2007 to accommodate changes in EF or some third index. 

It seems to me this has huge advantages and no downside. 

2 comments:

  1. Agreed. I have always wondered about the difference in wind speeds with the EF rating. It seems as though anymore that all these changes confuse the public more than anything.
    A recent example in Kansas being the "areal flood warning". I noticed one Wichita TV station seemed to be answering a lot of calls from people asking what "areal" meant.

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  2. Yes, the culture of the NWS these days seems to be if there are two equally good solutions, pick the one that is more complicated.

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