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Tornado Aftermath: Questioning the Tools.

pdf icon Tornado Aftermath: Questioning the Tools. (5983 K)
Phan, L. T.; Simiu, E.

ASCE Civil Engineering Magazine, 1A-6A, December 1998.


weather effects


On May 2, 1997, a tornado swept through the outskirts of Jarrell, Texas killing 2 people and destroying about 40 single-family residences. On the basis of the poststorm inspection, we believe the structural engineeirng community needs to help develop an improved tornado classification scale and a more realistic tornado wind speed data base. These refinements would help save lives and property, in our opinion. Our assessment is that the damage caused by the Jarrell tornado may be explained by wind speeds corresponding to an F3 rating on the Fujita tornado intensity scale. A higher rating on that scale need not be assumed to explain the damage at Jarrell. In our opinion, the F5 rating given to the Jarrell tornado by the National Weather Service (NWS) can be ascribed to shortcomings of the Fujita tornado intensity scale.