Tornadoes are common across the country and can occur at any point during the year. After a tornado happens, it is given a rating from EF-0 to EF-5 based on estimated wind speeds and damage. For example, the brief tornado that caused minor damage in Boardman last weekend was rated an EF-0.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service (NWS) used the Enhanced Fujita Scale to assign this tornado a rating. What is the Enhanced Fujita Scale, and what do these ratings mean?  

What is the Enhanced Fujita Scale?

The Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale) replaced the Fujita Scale (F-Scale) in February of 2007 and is used to assign a tornado a rating based on estimated wind speeds and related damage.  

According to the National Weather Service, the Enhanced Fujita Scale was revised from the original Fujita Scale to reflect better examinations of tornado damage surveys to align wind speeds more closely with associated storm damage. The new scale has to do with how most structures are designed.  

The EF-Scale takes more variables into account than the F-Scale, such as damage indicators (DIs) and eight degrees of damage (DODs). Damage indicators include building types, structures and trees. Degrees of damage rank from visible damage, minor damage, major damage and complete destruction. The scale has 28 damage indicators and eight degrees of damage.  

When surveying tornado damage, personnel with the National Weather Service will compare the damage to the damage indicators and degrees of damage which help estimate the range of wind speeds the tornado likely produced, and will then assign the tornado a rating from EF-0 to EF-5.

Tornadoes are assigned a rating from EF-0 to EF-5

What wind speeds and types of damage are associated with EF-0 to EF-5 tornadoes?  

An EF-0 tornado is typically considered a weak tornado with estimated wind speeds of 65-85 mph and is associated with minor damage. Examples of damage from an EF-0 tornado include damage to chimneys, branches broken off trees and shallow-rooted trees uprooted. 

An EF-1 tornado is typically considered a weak tornado, with estimated wind speeds of 86-110 mph, and is associated with moderate damage. Examples of damage from an EF-1 tornado include roof surfaces peeled off and mobile homes pushed from their foundations or overturned.  

An EF-2 tornado is typically considered a strong tornado with estimated wind speeds of 111-135 mph and is associated with considerable damage. Examples of damage from an EF-2 tornado include roofs torn from houses, mobile homes demolished, large trees snapped or uprooted and boxcars pushed over.  

An EF-3 tornado is typically considered a strong tornado with estimated wind speeds of 136-165 mph and is associated with severe damage. Examples of damage from an EF-3 tornado include roofs and walls torn from well-constructed homes, heavy cars lifted and thrown, and most trees uprooted.  

An EF-4 tornado is typically considered a violent tornado with estimated wind speeds of 166-200 mph and is associated with extreme damage. Examples of damage from an EF-4 tornado include well-constructed homes leveled, structures with weak foundations blown and cars thrown.  

An EF-5 tornado is typically considered a violent tornado with estimated wind speeds over 200 mph and is associated with incredible damage. Examples of damage from an EF-5 tornado include sturdy frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances and trees debarked.