List of F5 and EF5 tornadoes
Among the most violent known meteorological events are tornadoes. Each year, more than 2,000 tornadoes occur worldwide, with the vast majority occurring in the United States and Europe. In order to assess the intensity of these events, meteorologist Ted Fujita devised a method to estimate maximum winds within the storm based on damage caused; this became known as the Fujita scale. At the top end of the scale, which ranks from 0 to 5, are F5 tornadoes. These storms were estimated to have had winds in excess of 261 mph (420 km/h).[nb 1] Following two particularly devastating tornadoes in 1997 and 1999, engineers questioned the reliability of the scale. Ultimately, a new scale was devised that took into account 28 different damage indicators; this became known as the Enhanced Fujita scale. With building designs taken more into account, winds in an EF5 tornado were estimated to be in excess of 200 mph (320 km/h).
Since 1950, there have been 59 officially rated F5 and EF5 tornadoes in the United States and 1 F5 in Canada. Additionally, the works of tornado expert Thomas P. Grazulis revealed the existence of several dozen more between 1880 and 1995. Grazulis also put into question the ratings of several currently rated F5 tornadoes. Outside the United States and Canada, seven tornadoes have been rated F5: two in France, Germany, and Italy and one in Russia. Several other tornadoes are also documented as possibly attaining this status.
Since structures are completely destroyed in both cases, the identification and assignment of scale between an EF4 tornado and an EF5 is often very difficult.
List of events
The tornadoes on this list have been officially rated F5 by an official government source. Unless otherwise noted, the tornadoes on this list have been rated F5 by the National Weather Service (NWS), as shown in the archives of the Storm Prediction Center and National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).
Prior to 1950, assessments of F5 tornadoes are mostly based on the works of Thomas Grazulis. Between 1880 and 1950, the NCDC accepted 38 of his classifications as F5s. In addition to the accepted ones, he rated a further 25 during the same period. From 1950–1970 tornadoes were assessed retrospectively, primarily using information recorded in government databases, and newspaper photographs and descriptions. Beginning in 1971, tornadoes were rated by the NWS using on-site damage surveys.
For United States tornadoes as of February 1, 2007, the Fujita scale has been recalibrated to more accurately match tornado speeds with their damage and to augment and refine damage descriptors. The new system is called the Enhanced Fujita scale. No earlier tornadoes will be reclassified, and no new tornadoes in the United States will be rated F5. France and Canada later adopted the EF-scale in years following.
In all, 51 tornadoes have been officially rated F5 since 1950: 50 in the United States and 1 in Canada. The works of Grazulis also revealed 16 more F5s between 1950 and 1995, with four later being accepted by the NCDC. Since the implementation of the EF-scale, there have been 9 officially rated EF5 tornadoes in the United States.
– Official F5/EF5; undisputed
– Rated F5/EF5, or mentioned as a possible F5/EF5 by tornado expert Thomas P. Grazulis
– Listed as an F5/EF5 on the 2000 NCDC tornado climatology memo
– Official F5/EF5, but rating is disputed; event may not have been F5/EF5
– Officially ranked below F5/EF5, but rating is disputed; event may have been F5/EF5
|June 29||1764||Woldegk, Germany||1||This tornado was among the strongest ever recorded with damage assessed at the highest level of the TORRO scale (T11). The rating was assigned based on several surveys by German scientist Gottlob Burchard Genzmer.|
|April 23||1800||Hainichen, Germany||0||Homes were completely destroyed, and large swaths of forest were leveled with trees debarked.|
|August 19||1845||Montville, Seine-Maritime, France||70||This extremely violent tornado was rated T10/11. Several large, stone-built mills were leveled and partly swept clean. One of the mills was a four-story structure that likely collapsed. Debris was carried 25 mi (40 km).|
|April 24||1880||West Prairie, Illinois||6||Homes were leveled and farms vanished.|
|June 12||1881||Hopkins, Missouri||2||1881 Hopkins tornado – Two farms were completely swept away.|
|June 15||1881||Renville County, Minnesota||20||1881 Minnesota tornado outbreak - According to Grazulis, this tornado was "probably" an F5. Extreme damage occurred in Renville County where five farms were completely swept away.|
|June 17||1882||Grinnell, Iowa||65||16 farms were blown away and the town of Grinnell was devastated. Debris was carried 100 mi (160 km). Caused 68 fatalities according to Grazulis.|
|August 21||1883||Rochester, Olmsted County, Minnesota||37||1883 Rochester tornado – 10 farms outside the town were leveled, and some homes were swept away. A metal railroad bridge was completely destroyed.|
|April 1||1884||Oakville, Indiana||8||Among contemporary meteorologists, this was considered one of the most intense tornadoes observed up to that time. Parts of Oakville "vanished", with house debris scattered for miles.|
|June 15||1892||Faribault–Freeborn–Steele County, Minnesota||12||1892 Southern Minnesota tornado – Entire farms were obliterated, and house timbers were embedded into the ground 3 mi (4.8 km) away from the foundations.|
|May 22||1893||Willow Springs, Wisconsin||3||Two farm complexes were completely swept away.|
|July 6||1893||Pomeroy, Iowa||71||Well-built homes were swept away in four counties with F5 damage in the town of Pomeroy. Grass was scoured from the ground, and a metal bridge was torn from its supports. A well pump and 40 feet (12 m) of pipe were pulled out of the ground.|
|September 21||1894||Kossuth County, Iowa||43||Five farms and a home were swept away, leaving little trace.|
|May 1||1895||Harvey County, Kansas||8||Farms "entirely vanished", with debris carried for miles.|
|May 3||1895||Sioux County, Iowa||9||Farms were swept away, with debris carried for miles.|
|May 15||1896||Sherman, Texas||73||May 1896 tornado outbreak sequence – This was one of the most intense tornadoes of the 19th century according to Grazulis. "Extraordinary" damage occurred to farms and 20 homes that were completely swept away. An iron-beam bridge was torn apart and scattered, trees were reduced to debarked stumps, and grass was scoured from the ground. Reliable reports said that numerous bodies were carried hundreds of yards.|
|May 17||1896||Nemaha–Brown County, Kansas–Nebraska||25||May 1896 tornado outbreak sequence – An opera house in Seneca was swept away, along with some farms. Entire farms were reportedly swept clean of debris, leaving the areas "bare as the prairie".|
|May 25||1896||Ortonville–Oakwood, Michigan||47||May 1896 tornado outbreak sequence – Houses and farms were leveled and swept away, with debris carried up to 12 mi (19 km) away. Extreme debarking and shredding of vegetation occurred.|
|May 18||1898||Marathon County, Wisconsin||12||12 farms were flattened.|
|June 11||1899||Salix, Iowa||5||Impacted several farms, including one where a "fine new residence" was swept completely away.|
|June 12||1899||St. Croix County–New Richmond, Wisconsin||117||New Richmond tornado – This tornado devastated New Richmond, leveling or sweeping away many homes and businesses. A large section of the town was reduced to nothing but scattered debris and house foundations. Numerous trees were completely debarked and shorn of their branches. A 3,000-pound (1,361 kg) safe was carried a full block.|
|May 10||1905||Snyder, Oklahoma||97||Snyder, Oklahoma tornado – The town of Snyder was devastated, with many structures swept away.|
|June 5||1905||Colling, Michigan||5||Three farms were "wiped out of existence", with nothing but "bits of kindling" left on the foundations.|
|June 5||1906||Houston County, Minnesota||4||A farm was completely leveled.|
|April 23||1908||Cuming–Thurston County, Nebraska||3||1908 Dixie tornado outbreak – A well-built two-story home was swept away.|
|May 12||1908||Fremont–Page County, Iowa||0||Five farms had all buildings swept away, and lumber was scattered for miles.|
|June 5||1908||Fillmore County, Nebraska||11||Farms vanished, with little left to indicate farmsteads ever existed at some locations.|
|April 20||1912||Kingfisher County, Oklahoma||2||Entire farms were swept away.|
|April 27||1912||Kiowa–Canadian County, Oklahoma||15||This tornado is not listed by Grazulis or any other sources, and is therefore a possible typographical error in the memo.|
|June 15||1912||Creighton, Missouri||5||Two large homes were completely swept away|
|March 23||1913||Omaha, Nebraska||113||March 1913 tornado outbreak sequence – Photo analysis by Grazulis revealed possible F5 damage with many empty foundations throughout Omaha, though it is uncertain if this was a result of the tornado or cleanup efforts following the event. An F4 rating was assigned due to the uncertainty.|
|June 11||1915||Kiowa County, Kansas||0||One entire farm was swept completely away.|
|May 25||1917||Andale–Sedgwick, Kansas||23||May–June 1917 tornado outbreak sequence – Many structures were swept away. The F5 rating is widely accepted.|
|June 5||1917||Near Topeka, Kansas||9||This intense, large tornado was very similar to a later F5 that hit Downtown Topeka on June 8, 1966, though the 1917 tornado missed downtown. Homes and farms were swept completely away outside of town. Trees were debarked, and heavy farm machinery was carried for miles.|
|May 21||1918||Crawford–Greene County, Iowa||6||At least two farms were swept away, and house foundations were left bare. Debris was scattered for miles.|
|June 22||1919||Fergus Falls, Minnesota||59||1919 Fergus Falls tornado – A three-block-wide swath was leveled, with some homes swept away. Several summer homes were swept away into Lake Alice, and a train station was swept away as well.|
|March 28||1920||West Liberty, Indiana–Van Wert, Ohio||17||1920 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – Farms were leveled and swept away in Indiana and Ohio with possible F5 damage. Some homes had even their floors dislodged and moved some distance.|
|April 20||1920||Clay County, Mississippi–Marion County, Alabama–Lawrence County, Alabama||88||April 1920 tornado outbreak – This was a large, long-tracked tornado like the April 27, 2011, EF5 tornado and also affected the same areas near Hackleburg, Alabama. Many homes were swept away and entire forests were leveled along a 130-mile (210 km) path length. Large boulders were picked up and thrown, one of which was found 11 mi (18 km) away from where it originated. Vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards.|
|July 22||1920||Frobisher–Alameda, Saskatchewan||4||"Splendid homes" were swept away.|
|April 15||1921||Harrison County, Texas–Pike–Hempstead County, Arkansas||62||This tornado tracked for 105 mi (169 km) and reached a peak width of 1.1 mi (1.8 km). Many homes were leveled, some of which were swept away and scattered across fields. A large concrete fireplace was shifted 3 ft (1.00 yd), and a vehicle was thrown 200 yd (600 ft) and partially buried into the soil. Farms and plantations were completely devastated. The event probably contained multiple tornadoes and caused 59 fatalities according to Grazulis.|
|March 11||1923||Pinson, Tennessee||20||An entire section of the town was swept away.|
|May 14||1923||Big Spring, Texas||23||A large home and farms were swept away.|
|September 21||1924||Clark County–Taylor County, Wisconsin||18||Twenty farms were destroyed, some obliterated. Entire wall of a home was carried for 14 mi (23 km).|
|March 18||1925||Missouri–Illinois–Indiana||695||Tri-State Tornado – This was the deadliest and longest-tracked single tornado in U.S. history. Thousands of structures were destroyed, with hundreds of homes swept away along the path, especially in Murphysboro and West Frankfort, Illinois. Railroad tracks were ripped from the ground, and a large multi-ton coal tipple was blown over and rolled. Deep ground scouring was noted in several areas as well. The F5 rating is widely accepted.|
|June 3||1925||Pottawattamie–Harrison County, Iowa||0||Buildings "vanished". This tornado took nearly the same path as the next one, below.|
|June 3||1925||Pottawattamie–Harrison County, Iowa||1||Parts of two farms and some homes swept away, but they may have been hit by both tornadoes.|
|April 12||1927||Rocksprings, Texas||74||This massive tornado swept away or leveled more than 90% of the town.|
|May 7||1927||Barber–McPherson County, Kansas||10||Many farms were destroyed and some were swept completely away. The F5 rating is widely accepted.|
|April 10||1929||Sneed, Arkansas||23||This tornado is considered the only F5 on record in Arkansas. It destroyed the Sneed community, reduced homes to "splinters", and made a "clean sweep" of the area. Huge trees were snapped or torn apart.|
|July 24||1930||Treviso–Udine, Italy||22||This was an extremely powerful tornado, rated T10/11. A large stone monastery was partially leveled to the ground.|
|July 20||1931||Lublin, Poland||6||This tornado is officially rated F4; however, the Polish Weather Service estimated winds at 246 to 324 mph (396 to 521 km/h), potentially ranking it as an F5.|
|May 22||1933||Tryon, Nebraska||8||Two farms were swept away.|
|July 1||1935||Benson, Saskatchewan||1||Several structures were leveled.|
|April 5||1936||Tupelo, Mississippi||216||Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak – This tornado leveled and swept away many large and well-constructed houses. A concrete war monument was toppled and broken, with nearby brick gate posts snapped off at the base. Granulated debris was scattered for miles east of the city. Pine needles were reportedly driven into tree trunks as well.|
|April 26||1938||Oshkosh, Nebraska||3||A school disintegrated, and two farms were swept away.|
|June 10||1938||Clyde, Texas||14||Nine homes in a subdivision were swept away.|
|April 14||1939||Woodward County, Oklahoma–Barber County, Kansas||7||Homes and entire farms were swept away, and cars were carried for hundreds of yards.|
|June 18||1939||Hennepin–Anoka County, Minnesota||9||Homes were swept away in Champlin and Anoka. A car was tossed 300 yd (900 ft) and smashed to pieces. As the tornado crossed the Mississippi River, witnesses reported that so much water was sucked into the air that the riverbed was briefly exposed, and that the flow of water was stopped until the tornado reached the opposite bank.|
|March 16||1942||Peoria County–Marshall County, Illinois||8||March 1942 tornado outbreak – Many homes were swept away in the town of Lacon, Illinois, and a farmhouse sustained F5 damage.|
|April 29||1942||Oberlin, Kansas||15||Three farms were obliterated, with all buildings and several inches of topsoil swept away. Debris from homes was granulated into splinters "no larger than match sticks."|
|June 17||1944||Summit, South Dakota||8||Farms were swept away with no visible debris left.|
|June 22||1944||Grant County, Wisconsin–Stephenson County, Illinois||9||This long-tracked tornado destroyed many homes in both states.|
|April 12||1945||Antlers, Oklahoma||69||600 buildings were destroyed, and some areas were swept clean of all debris. The F5 rating is widely accepted.|
|June 17||1946||Windsor, Ontario||17||1946 Windsor-Tecumseh, Ontario tornado – Officially rated F4; however, one home had a portion of its concrete block foundation swept away, indicating borderline F5 damage.|
|August 20||1946||Klodzko Slaskie, Poland||0||Officially rated F4; however, report indicates potential F5 damage.|
|April 9||1947||Glazier/Higgins, Texas–Woodward, Oklahoma||181||1947 Glazier-Higgins-Woodward tornadoes – Several towns were partially or totally destroyed. Most structures in Glazier were swept away. The F5 rating is widely accepted.|
|April 29||1947||Worth, Missouri||14||Most of Worth was destroyed. Half of a brick building remained standing in the village. Considered to be a possible F5 by Grazulis.|
|May 31||1947||Leedey, Oklahoma||6||This tornado reportedly left more intense damage than the previous event did in Woodward. Many structures were swept away, leaving no debris or grass in some areas. Several inches of topsoil were removed as well. The F5 rating is widely accepted.|
|May 21||1949||Palestine, Illinois||4||A restaurant was leveled, and cars in the parking lot were thrown up to 300 yd (900 ft) away from where they originated.|
|May 18||1951||Olney, Texas||2||Many homes in town were destroyed, some of which were swept away with very little debris left.|
|March 21||1952||Byhalia, Mississippi–Moscow, Tennessee||17||March 1952 Southern United States tornado outbreak – Officially rated F4 in tornado databases; however, the National Climatic Data Center lists this as an F5 event in a Tech Memo reporting all known F5 tornadoes. The only possible F5 damage was to a concrete block structure that may or may not have been steel reinforced.|
|May 22||1952||Douglas–Leavenworth County, Kansas||0||Home of a bank president was reportedly leveled with possible F5 damage.|
|May 11||1953||Waco, Texas||114||1953 Waco tornado outbreak – Many large, multi-story buildings in downtown Waco were completely leveled, along with homes both north and south of Waco. First officially-ranked F5 tornado in the U.S.|
|May 29||1953||Fort Rice, North Dakota||2||A large church was leveled and pews were jammed 4 ft (1.2 m) into the ground. Car parts were carried for 0.5 mi (0.80 km). Rating disputed.|
|June 8||1953||Flint, Michigan||116||Flint-Worcester tornado outbreak sequence – Large sections of neighborhoods in North Flint were swept completely away, and cycloidal ground scouring occurred.|
|June 8||1953||Cygnet, Ohio||18||Flint–Worcester tornado outbreak sequence – Possible but unverifiable F5 damage occurred near Cygnet where homes were swept completely away. A steel-and-concrete bridge was destroyed as the tornado passed near Jerry City.|
|June 9||1953||Worcester, Massachusetts||94||Flint-Worcester tornado outbreak sequence – Many strong structures with numerous interior walls were leveled, and entire blocks of homes were swept cleanly away. The large, brick Assumption College sustained severe damage, and its upper stories were completely destroyed. A large, multi-ton storage tank was carried over a road, and trees along the path were debarked as well. Debris from this tornado was found in the Atlantic Ocean. The tornado was rated F5 by Grazulis in a later publication.|
|June 27||1953||Adair, Iowa||1||Four farms were destroyed, with virtually nothing left of one of them. Heavy farm machinery was thrown hundreds of feet, and boards were driven into trees.|
|December 5||1953||Vicksburg, Mississippi||38||1953 Vicksburg, Mississippi tornado outbreak – Many buildings were leveled in downtown Vicksburg. The F5 rating is disputed by Grazulis as destroyed structures were frail.|
|May 1||1954||Crowell–Vernon, Texas–Snyder, Oklahoma||0||Vehicles were thrown more than 100 yd (300 ft), and three farms were entirely swept away.|
|May 25||1955||Blackwell, Oklahoma||20||1955 Great Plains tornado outbreak – Many homes and businesses were swept away in town.|
|May 25||1955||Udall, Kansas||80||1955 Great Plains tornado outbreak – Many homes and businesses were swept away in town, and photographs indicated that numerous trees were debarked. Vehicles were thrown and stripped down to their frames, a large water tower was blown over and mangled, and beams were broken at a school building. The large, brick school building itself was almost entirely leveled.|
|July 2||1955||Walcott, North Dakota||2||Eleven farms were completely leveled or swept away. One farm appeared to show potential F5 damage, where a home was swept completely away.|
|April 3||1956||Hudsonville–Grand Rapids, Michigan||18||April 1956 Hudsonville-Standale tornado – Many homes were swept completely away, leaving bare foundations behind. Extensive wind-rowing of debris was observed, and vehicles were tossed hundreds of yards as well. One home that was swept away had its tile flooring scoured from the foundation.|
|May 20||1957||Ruskin Heights, Missouri||44||May 1957 Central Plains tornado outbreak – Entire rows of homes were swept away. A steel-reinforced school was partially leveled, and many shops and businesses sustained F5 damage. F4 damage occurred in both Kansas and Missouri, but the F5 damage was in Ruskin Heights and Hickman Mills.|
|May 21||1957||Fremont, Missouri||7||May 1957 Central Plains tornado outbreak – Possible F5 damage could not be verified due to poor quality of home construction.|
|June 16||1957||Robecco Pavese–Valle Scuropasso, Italy||0||Many large stone buildings were flattened. Officially rated F5 with damage estimated at T10 on the TORRO Scale; however, rating is uncertain and it may have been a high-end F4.|
|June 20||1957||Fargo, North Dakota||10||1957 Fargo tornado – Many homes were leveled, with some swept completely away. Part of the Golden Ridge subdivision was swept away, with the debris scattered long distances into nearby fields. Fujita reportedly called this one of the most intense tornadoes he surveyed.|
|December 18||1957||Sunfield, Illinois||1||December 1957 tornado outbreak sequence – The entire Sunfield community "vanished".|
|June 4||1958||Menomonie–Colfax, Wisconsin||21||1958 Colfax, Wisconsin tornado outbreak – Homes were swept away. A car was wrapped around the side of a steel bridge that collapsed in the tornado. Rating disputed.|
|June 10||1958||El Dorado, Kansas||15||Reports indicated near-F5-level damage to homes. A car was thrown 100 yd (300 ft), but damage photographs were inconclusive as to whether F5 structural damage occurred.|
|May 5||1960||Prague, Oklahoma||5||May 1960 tornado outbreak sequence – Homes were swept away, and heavy oil tanks were thrown long distances. Hillsides were stripped of all vegetation and several inches of topsoil.|
|May 19||1960||Wamego, Kansas||0||Rated F5 by Grazulis as two farms were swept away.|
|May 20||1960||Niechobrz, Poland||4||Officially rated high-end F4 with homes completely destroyed. Report on tornado noted potential F5 damage.|
|May 30||1961||Custer–Valley County, Nebraska||0||All buildings and machinery were swept away from a farm. Widely accepted as an F5 tornado, including within the NCDC Technical Memorandum; however, it is listed as an F4 in the official databases.|
|April 3||1964||Wichita Falls, Texas||7||Homes were swept away, and a boxcar was thrown 100 yd (300 ft). A car was thrown a block and a half.|
|April 12||1964||Near Lawrence, Kansas||0||Produced possible F5 damage according to Grazulis. Farms were leveled and a truck was thrown 300 yd (270 m).|
|May 5||1964||Bradshaw, Nebraska||4||Farms were swept away.|
|April 11||1965||Midway, Indiana||14||1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – This was the first of two violent tornadoes to hit the Dunlap area, north of Goshen. Homes were swept away, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards. The Midway trailer park was completely obliterated, with much debris swept away. An airplane wing was found 35 miles (56 km) away in Michigan. This tornado was famously photographed as a double tornado.|
|April 11||1965||Rainbow Lake, Indiana||5||1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – This tornado developed after the first Dunlap tornado (previous event). Near-F5-level damage occurred to homes that were swept away.|
|April 11||1965||Dunlap, Indiana||36||1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – This was the second violent tornado to strike Dunlap within 90 minutes. Rated F5 by Grazulis and Fujita, it is widely considered to be an F5 in older sources. A well-built truck stop was leveled and many permanent homes were swept away in two subdivisions.|
|April 11||1965||Lebanon–Sheridan, Indiana||28||1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – This is listed as an F5 in the NCDC memorandum. Vehicles were thrown up 100 yd (300 ft).|
|April 11||1965||Toledo, Ohio||18||1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – Homes were completely swept away with borderline-F5 damage in North Toledo. Boats and buses were thrown long distances.|
|April 11||1965||Pittsfield–Strongsville, Ohio||18||1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – Rated F5 by Grazulis and Fujita. This is widely considered to be F5 in older reports. Homes were cleanly swept away in Strongsville and Pittsfield, and Pittsfield was completely destroyed. Only a concrete war monument remained standing in Pittsfield, where homes "vanished".|
|May 8||1965||Primrose, Nebraska||4||Early-May 1965 tornado outbreak sequence - Widely accepted as an F5, and reported to have been a double tornado as it hit Primrose. 90% of Primrose was demolished, and cars were carried for 400 yd (1,200 ft). A truck body was carried and rolled for 2 mi (3.2 km). Homes were swept from their foundations as well.|
|May 8||1965||Gregory, South Dakota||0||Early-May 1965 tornado outbreak sequence - Many farms were destroyed, including three that were swept completely away.|
|March 3||1966||Jackson, Mississippi||57||1966 Candlestick Park tornado – Homes were swept away and brick buildings were leveled. Pavement was scoured from roads and cars were thrown more than half a mile from where they originated. The newly built Candlestick Park shopping center was leveled and concrete masonry blocks were scattered for long distances. Steel girders were "twisted like wet noodles" at a glass plant.|
|June 8||1966||Topeka, Kansas||16||1966 Topeka tornado – Many homes were swept away, and vehicles were thrown long distances. Grass was scoured from the ground as well.|
|October 14||1966||Belmond, Iowa||6||Disputed F5 rating, ranked F4 by Grazulis. A house was swept away on the outskirts of town. However, the home was likely poorly anchored as debris was deposited in a neat pile near the foundation, and nearby homes only showed slight damage.|
|June 24||1967||Palluel, France||6||Homes and other structures were swept away or leveled in and near Palluel.|
|April 23||1968||Wheelersburg–Gallipolis, Ohio||7||1968 Wheelersburg, Ohio tornado outbreak - Homes were swept away, with only their foundations left in some cases. A large metal electrical transmission tower was ripped off at the base and thrown. The F5 rating is disputed as structures swept away were not anchored properly.|
|April 23||1968||Falmouth, Kentucky||6||1968 Wheelersburg, Ohio tornado outbreak - Mentioned as a possible F5 by Grazulis.|
|May 15||1968||Charles City, Iowa||13||May 1968 tornado outbreak – Many homes were swept away in town. Farms were swept away as well. Very intense multiple vortices were observed based upon ground damage patterns. Cycloidal ground scouring occurred where the multiple vortices were noted.|
|May 15||1968||Oelwein-Maynard, Iowa||5||May 1968 tornado outbreak – Homes were swept completely away in both towns.|
|June 13||1968||Tracy, Minnesota||9||1968 Tracy tornado – 111 homes homes were destroyed in town, and farms were swept away. A heavy boxcar was thrown more than a full block, and two others were thrown 300 yd (900 ft). A steel I-beam was carried for two miles on a piece of roof. Extensive ground scouring occurred outside of town.|
|January 1||1970||Bulahdelah, New South Wales||0||Bulahdelah tornado – Left a damage path 21 kilometres (13 mi) long and 1–1.6 km (0.6–1 mi) wide through the Bulahdelah State Forest. According to reports, it threw a tractor weighing 2 tonnes (4,400 lb) 100 m (328 ft) through the air, depositing it upside down. It is estimated that the tornado destroyed over one million trees.|
|May 11||1970||Lubbock, Texas||26||1970 Lubbock tornado – A high-rise building suffered structural deformation and homes were swept away. A 13 t (13,000 kg) metal fertilizer tank was thrown nearly 1 mi (1.6 km) through the air, and large oil tanks were carried for over 300 yd (900 ft).|
|February 21||1971||Delhi, Louisiana||47||February 1971 Mississippi Valley tornado outbreak – Only official F5 in Louisiana history, but the rating is questioned by Grazulis, who assigned an F4 rating. Homes were completely leveled east of Delhi and bodies were thrown long distances into nearby swamps.|
|April 27||1971||Gosser Ridge, Kentucky||2||Most buildings on a farm were swept away. Listed as a "questionable" F5 in the NCDC Tech Memo. Was F4 according to Grazulis and official records.|
|May 6||1973||Valley Mills, Texas||0||Rating applied by wind engineers. A pickup truck was carried .5 mi (0.80 km) through the air. Another was carried for 200 yd (600 ft).|
|January 10||1973||San Justo, Argentina||54||San Justo tornado – Never officially rated, but considered to have been an F5 by some sources. Homes reportedly vanished with little or no trace, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of meters from where they originated. Large factories were completely leveled and grass was scoured from the ground. A vehicle motor was found embedded into a concrete wall.|
|April 3||1974||Daisy Hill, Indiana||6||Super Outbreak – Homes were swept completely away. Entire farms were leveled.|
|April 3||1974||Xenia, Ohio||32||Super Outbreak – Entire rows of brick homes were swept away. Very intense damage was reported to steel-reinforced schools.|
|April 3||1974||Brandenburg, Kentucky||31||Super Outbreak – Multiple well-built homes were swept away, including one that sustained total collapse of its poured concrete walk-out basement wall. Grass was scoured from the ground as well, brick buildings in downtown Brandenburg were leveled, and low-lying shrubs next to leveled homes were uprooted and stripped. Multiple vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards and stripped down to their frames. Trees were also completely debarked.|
|April 3||1974||Sayler Park (West Cincinnati), Ohio||3||Super Outbreak – Homes were swept away, and boats were thrown long distances. A large floating restaurant barge was lifted, ripped from its moorings, and flipped upside-down by the tornado.|
|April 3||1974||Mt. Hope–Tanner–Harvest, Alabama||28||Super Outbreak – Many homes were swept away, and a large swath of trees was leveled, with mud found to have been dug up and plastered to the bark.|
|April 3||1974||Tanner–Hazel Green, Alabama||22||Super Outbreak – Officially listed as an F5, but was rated F4 by Grazulis and Ted Fujita. Crossed into Tennessee and did F4 damage in both states, though the supposed F5 damage only occurred in Alabama.|
|April 3||1974||Guin, Alabama||28||Super Outbreak – This was ranked one of the strongest Alabama tornadoes on record; F5 damage was reported along much of the path. Numerous homes were swept away, and in some cases their foundations were dislodged and swept away as well. Many homes were obliterated and scattered across fields, and photographs showed intense wind-rowing from suction vortices. Thousands of trees in the Bankhead National Forest were snapped or debarked, and the path of damage was visible from aerial satellites. An entire lot in Guin was swept clean of all debris and a large industrial building was obliterated.|
|March 26||1976||Spiro, Oklahoma||2||Frame homes were swept away, and 134,000-pound coal cars were tossed. Rating disputed|
|April 19||1976||Brownwood, Texas||0||Homes were swept away. Several teenagers were caught in the open and were picked up and thrown 1,000 yd (0.91 km) but survived. Rating disputed.|
|June 13||1976||Jordan, Iowa||0||Homes were swept away. This tornado was mentioned by Fujita as one of the most intense he surveyed. Well-built farms reportedly vanished without a trace.|
|April 4||1977||Birmingham, Alabama||22||April 1977 Birmingham tornado – Many homes were swept away, some of which had their cinder block walk-out basement walls swept away as well. Trees were debarked and two dump trucks were thrown through the air.|
|April 2||1982||Broken Bow, Oklahoma||0||A house was swept away. Only carpet tacks were left on the empty foundation. The F5 rating is disputed because the home may have not been anchored properly.|
|June 7||1984||Barneveld, Wisconsin||9||Barneveld, Wisconsin tornado outbreak – A cul-de-sac of newly built homes was swept away, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards.|
|June 9||1984||Ivanovo, Central Federal District, Soviet Union||92||1984 Soviet Union tornado outbreak – An extremely intense multiple vortex tornado threw a crane 220 yd (200 m), threw multi-ton water tanks hundreds of yards, tore asphalt from roads, destroyed and threw trees long distances, and swept away steel-reinforced buildings with little debris left. Tornado was exceptionally long-lived, remaining on the ground for roughly 100 mi (160 km) over the course of two hours. At least 92 fatalities were confirmed, though the actually toll was likely higher.|
|June 9||1984||Kostroma, Central Federal District, Soviet Union||0||1984 Soviet Union tornado outbreak – Officially rated F4, but survey mentions possible F5 damage. Trees were ripped from the ground and thrown long distances. A 350-ton industrial crane was blown over.|
|May 31||1985||Niles, Ohio–Wheatland, Pennsylvania||18||1985 United States-Canadian tornado outbreak – This tornado caused F5 damage along much of its path through Niles and Wheatland. A shopping center in Niles was obliterated, with F5 damage and several deaths. Steel girders at the center were twisted and buckled. Well-built homes were swept away, and heavy fuel storage tanks were ripped from their anchors and thrown hundreds of feet. Pavement was scoured from a parking lot, and a steel-frame trucking plant was obliterated. Aluminum parts from the plant were found wedged into the asphalt parking lot.|
|July 31||1987||Edmonton, Alberta||28||Edmonton Tornado – Heavy trailers and oil tanks were tossed, and large factories were leveled. This tornado has been under scrutiny by Environment Canada in recent years, as to whether or not it could be considered for an F5 rating. If done this would make it the earliest such tornado since records have been kept, next to the 2007 Elie, Manitoba, tornado.|
|March 13||1990||Hesston, Kansas||1||March 1990 Central US tornado outbreak – Many homes and businesses were swept away in town.|
|March 13||1990||Goessel, Kansas||1||March 1990 Central US tornado outbreak – Homes were swept away, but the F5 rating was assigned due to very intense cycloidal ground scouring. Considered by some sources to be one of the strongest tornadoes ever surveyed at the time, though little detailed information about the damage is available.|
|August 28||1990||Plainfield, Illinois||29||1990 Plainfield tornado – Caused some of the most intense vegetative damage Fujita saw in his career. A mature corn crop was scoured from the ground, leaving nothing but bare soil behind. Several inches of topsoil were blown away as well. A 20-ton tractor trailer was tossed from a road and thrown more than half a mile. The F5 rating is based solely upon the extreme ground scouring; areas in Plainfield sustained F4 damage, though the ground scouring was much less intense than where the corn crop was obliterated.|
|April 26||1991||Andover, Kansas||17||1991 Andover, Kansas tornado outbreak – Many well-built homes were swept away, leaving bare foundations behind, and grass was scoured from the ground. Extensive wind-rowing occurred as well. Trees and small twigs were completely stripped of their bark. Vehicles were thrown nearly a mile and mangled beyond recognition. The Golden Spur mobile-home park was completely leveled, and mobile home frames were badly mangled and twisted.|
|April 26||1991||Red Rock, Oklahoma||0||1991 Andover, Kansas tornado outbreak – Mobile Doppler radar used by storm chasers indicated wind speeds in the range of the F5 threshold, with winds up to 286 mph (460 km/h). Pavement and ground scouring occurred, and a large oil rig was toppled.|
|April 26||1991||Oologah, Oklahoma||0||1991 Andover, Kansas tornado outbreak – Reportedly threw school buses half a mile into a creek near Oologah, and caused borderline-F5 damage to homes in Oologah.|
|June 16||1992||Chandler, Minnesota||1||Mid-June 1992 tornado outbreak – Multiple homes were swept away, and vehicles were thrown and stripped down to their frames.|
|June 8||1995||Kellerville, Texas||0||Project VORTEX assessed tornado to be F5; one home was so obliterated that the National Weather Service survey likely missed it. Intense pavement and ground scouring occurred, with only bare soil left in some areas.|
|July 18||1996||Oakfield, Wisconsin||0||1996 Oakfield tornado – Well-built homes were swept away, including one where rebar anchors were bent over at a 90% angle. Vehicles were thrown up to 400 yd (1,200 ft) through the air and mangled beyond recognition. Crops were scoured to 1-inch stubble.|
|May 27||1997||Jarrell, Texas||27||1997 Central Texas tornado outbreak – Produced some of the most extreme damage ever documented. An entire subdivision of well-built homes was swept completely away with no debris remaining. Pavement was torn from roads, and a large swath of ground was scoured out to a depth of 18 in (0.46 m). Vehicles were torn apart and scattered across fields, and a recycling plant was obliterated.|
|April 8||1998||Oak Grove–Pleasant Grove, Alabama||32||April 1998 Birmingham tornado – Homes were swept away.|
|April 16||1998||Wayne County, Tennessee||3||1998 Nashville tornado outbreak – Originally considered part of a very long-tracked F5 tornado but was later determined to have been the first in a series of three separate, violent tornadoes. Multiple homes were reduced to their foundations. Although officially rated an F4, a re-analysis conducted in 2013 by the NWS Office in Nashville noted that the damage in Wayne County may warrant EF5; however, no tornadoes are rated using the enhanced scale that occurred prior to February 2007.|
|April 16||1998||Lawrence County, Tennessee||0||1998 Nashville tornado outbreak – This tornado produced extreme damage at ground level. Many large and well-built homes were swept away, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards. A swath of grass 200 ft (67 yd) wide was scoured from the ground, with nothing but bare soil and clumps of dirt remaining.|
|May 3||1999||Bridge Creek–Moore, Oklahoma||36||1999 Bridge Creek – Moore tornado – Mobile radar recorded winds up to 301 mph (484 km/h), which is the highest wind speed ever measured on Earth. Many homes were swept completely away, some of which were well-bolted to their foundations. Severe ground and pavement scouring occurred, and vehicles were thrown up to 440 yards away from where they originated.|
|May 3||1999||Cimarron City–Mulhall–Perry, Oklahoma||2||Cimarron City–Mulhall–Perry, Oklahoma tornado – Officially rated high-end F4. Tornado reached its greatest intensity while over mostly open terrain and the strongest winds may not have impacted structures. Town of Mulhall was impacted by only the outer edge of the circulation but still sustained F4 damage. Storm chasers suggested that the tornado may have been as strong as, or stronger than, the Bridge Creek–Moore tornado.|
|May 4||2007||Greensburg, Kansas||11||May 2007 tornado outbreak – This tornado destroyed 90% of the town, including seven well-built homes that were swept away. Vehicles were thrown hundreds of feet, and a large water tower was toppled and mangled.|
|June 22||2007||Elie, Manitoba||0||Elie, Manitoba tornado – Two homes were swept away, including one that was well bolted to its foundation. A van was thrown several hundred yards. Only officially-rated F5 tornado in Canada. Last tornado to be rated F5 due to Environment Canada utilizing the Enhanced Fujita Scale on April 1, 2013.|
|May 25||2008||Parkersburg–New Hartford, Iowa||9||Late-May 2008 tornado outbreak sequence – The tornado swept away well-built homes, leaving a large swath of finely-granulated debris. 17 homes were assessed to have sustained EF5 damage, two of which had no debris left within 200 yards of the foundations. Some homes had their anchor bolts pulled out of the foundation perimeter. A concrete walk-out basement wall was pushed over at one home, and the concrete floor was cracked. A large industrial building was completely destroyed, with metal girders twisted and snapped at their bases and the foundation pushed clean of debris.|
|April 27||2011||Smithville, Mississippi||23||April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak – Numerous well-built brick homes were swept away, including one that had its concrete slab foundation pulled up and dislodged slightly. The ground was deeply scoured outside of town, and an SUV was thrown half a mile into the top of a water tower. A large brick funeral home was reduced to a bare slab, and numerous trees and low shrubbery were debarked and shredded.|
|April 27||2011||Hackleburg–Phil Campbell, Alabama||72||2011 Hackleburg – Phil Campbell, Alabama tornado – This was the deadliest tornado in Alabama state history. Many homes were swept away, some of which were large and well built. Ground and pavement scouring occurred, trees were completely debarked, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards. A restaurant was obliterated, and a small portion of its foundation slab buckled.|
|April 27||2011||Philadelphia–Preston, Mississippi||3||April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak – Was rated EF5 based upon extreme ground scouring. The tornado dug a two-foot-deep trench into a pasture and scoured pavement from roads. A tied-down mobile home was lofted and carried 300 yards through the air. Brick homes were swept away, and vehicles were tossed hundreds of yards and wrapped around trees. Entire trees were debarked and thrown long distances.|
|April 27||2011||Tuscaloosa–Birmingham, Alabama||64||2011 Tuscaloosa – Birmingham tornado – Disagreement as to final ranking; officially rated high-end EF4, but one survey team awarded EF5 damage. Large section of an apartment building was swept completely away. A 34-tonne (74,957 lb) railroad trestle support structure was thrown 100 ft (30 m) up a hill, and a 35.8-tonne (78,925 lb) coal car was thrown 391 ft (119 m).|
|April 27||2011||Rainsville–Sylvania, Alabama||25||April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak – Many homes were swept away, some of which had their concrete porches torn away and shattered. An 800-pound (363 kg) safe was ripped from its anchors and thrown 600 ft (183 m), and its door was ripped from its frame. Ground scouring occurred, and sidewalk pavement was pulled up. A pickup truck was tossed 250 yd (750 ft) and torn apart. An underground storm shelter was heaved slightly out of the ground, and pavement was scoured from roads.|
|May 22||2011||Joplin, Missouri||158||2011 Joplin tornado – Many homes, business, and industrial buildings were swept away, and large vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards. A large hospital was so severely damaged that it was structurally compromised and was rebuilt elsewhere in Joplin. Reinforced concrete porches were deformed and tossed, and 300-pound (136.08 kg) concrete parking stops anchored with rebar were ripped from parking lots and tossed well over 100 ft (30 m). Ground and pavement scouring occurred, and heavy manhole covers were removed from roads as well. On June 10, 2013, an engineering study found no evidence of EF5 structural damage in Joplin due to the poor quality of construction of many buildings. However, the EF5 rating stood as the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri, stated that survey teams found only a very small area of EF5 damage and that it could have easily been missed in the survey.|
|May 24||2011||El Reno–Piedmont, Oklahoma||9||May 21–26, 2011 tornado outbreak sequence – Mobile radar recorded winds over 200 mph (320 km/h). Many homes were swept away, trees were completely debarked, and extensive ground scouring occurred. At the Cactus 117 oil rig, a 1,900,000-pound (861,830 kg) oil derrick was blown over and rolled three times. Nearby, low-lying shrubbery was completely debarked. Cars were thrown long distances and wrapped around trees, one of which was thrown 780 yards and had its body ripped from the frame. Additionally, a 20,000-pound (9,072 kg) oil tanker truck was thrown a mile.|
|May 24||2011||Chickasha–Blanchard–Newcastle, Oklahoma||1||May 21–26, 2011 tornado outbreak sequence – Officially rated high-end EF4; however, most extreme damage was borderline EF5. Well-built homes were swept away, pavement was scoured from a road, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards.|
|May 24||2011||Washington–Goldsby, Oklahoma||0||May 21–26, 2011 tornado outbreak sequence – Officially a high-end EF4, but rating is disputed. NCDC lists the tornado as having borderline-EF5 windspeeds, with winds estimated at 200 mph (320 km/h). Large and well-built homes were swept completely away, severe ground scouring occurred, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards.|
|May 20||2013||Moore, Oklahoma||24||2013 Moore tornado – Several homes were swept away, leaving bare foundations behind, especially near one of two elementary schools. The schools were either partly or totally leveled, and one of them was completely destroyed at EF5 intensity. Numerous rows of trees and other vegetation were shredded and debarked. Severe ground scouring also occurred near one of the elementary schools and elsewhere along the path. A large, 10-tonne (10,000 kg) water tank was hurled more than .5 mi (0.80 km).|
|May 31||2013||El Reno, Oklahoma||8||2013 El Reno tornado – Largest tornado on record at 2.6 miles (4.2 km) wide. Was initially rated EF5 based solely on mobile Doppler radar measurements, which recorded winds up to 295 mph (470 km/h). However, the most significant structural damage was rated EF3, as the tornado did not strike any buildings when the EF5 winds were recorded. Rating was eventually downgraded to EF3 because of this, though the practicality of the downgrade has been disputed by some meteorologists.|
- Tornado intensity and damage
- List of tornadoes and tornado outbreaks
- List of tornadoes striking downtown areas
- Tornado myths
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- The Tornado Project
- Climatological Risk of Strong and Violent Tornadoes in the United States (Paper 9.4, Second Conference on Environmental Applications)
- Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Climatology (NSSL)
- Fujita Scale