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Tornado intensity


The strength of a tornado can be estimated from the degree of damage caused using the Enhanced Fujita scale given in Table 21.

Table 21. Enhanced Fujita scale for rating the intensity of tornadoes

Enhanced Fujita scale number

Three second gust speed



29.2−38.1 m/s
105−137 km/h

Minor damage: Tiles blown off or parts of a roof peeled off; damage to gutters or sidings; branches broken off trees; shallow-rooted trees toppled


38.3−49.4 m/s
138−178 km/h

Moderate damage: Significant roof damage; windows broken; exterior doors damaged or lost; mobile homes overturned or badly damaged


49.7−60.6 m/s
179−218 km/h

Considerable damage: Roofs torn off well-constructed homes; houses moved off their foundations; mobile homes completely destroyed; large trees snapped or uprooted; cars thrown in air


60.8−73.9 m/s
219−266 km/h

Severe damage: Entire storeys of well-constructed houses destroyed; significant damage to large buildings; houses with weak foundations blown away; trees begin to lose their bark


74.2−89.4 m/s
267−322 km/h

Extreme damage: Well-constructed houses demolished; cars thrown significant distances; top-storey exterior walls of masonry buildings likely collapse


>89.4 m/s
>322 km/h

Massive/incredible damage: Well-constructed houses swept away; steel-reinforced concrete structures critically damaged; high-rise buildings sustain severe structural damage; trees usually completely debarked, stripped of branches and snapped

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