List of F5 and EF5 tornadoes

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The Chandler, Minnesota F5 tornado of June 16, 1992

This is a list of tornadoes which have been officially or unofficially labeled as F5, EF5, or an equivalent rating, the highest possible ratings on the various tornado intensity scales. These scales – the Fujita scale, the Enhanced Fujita scale, and the TORRO tornado intensity scale – attempt to estimate the intensity of a tornado by classifying the damage caused to natural features and man-made structures in the tornado's path.

Tornadoes are among the most violent known meteorological phenomena. Each year, more than 2,000 tornadoes are recorded worldwide, with the vast majority occurring in the United States and Europe.[1][2] In order to assess the intensity of these events, meteorologist Ted Fujita devised a method to estimate maximum wind speeds within tornadic storms based on the damage caused; this became known as the Fujita scale. The scale ranks tornadoes from F0 to F5, with F0 being the least intense and F5 being the most intense. F5 tornadoes were estimated to have had maximum winds between 261 mph (420 km/h) and 318 mph (512 km/h).[3][nb 1]

Following two particularly devastating tornadoes in 1997 and 1999, engineers questioned the reliability of the Fujita scale. Ultimately, a new scale was devised that took into account 28 different damage indicators; this became known as the Enhanced Fujita scale.[4] With building design and structural integrity taken more into account, winds in an EF5 tornado were estimated to be in excess of 200 mph (320 km/h).[5] The Enhanced Fujita scale is used predominantly in North America. Most of Europe, on the other hand, uses the TORRO tornado intensity scale (or T-Scale), which ranks tornado intensity between T0 and T11; F5/EF5 tornadoes are approximately equivalent to T10–T11 on the T-Scale.

In the United States, between 1950 and January 31, 2007, a total of 50 tornadoes were officially rated F5, and since February 1, 2007, a total of nine tornadoes have been officially rated EF5.[6][7] Since 1950, Canada has had one tornado officially rated an F5.[8] Outside the United States and Canada, seven tornadoes have been rated F5/EF5 or equivalent: two each in France, Germany, and Italy and one in Russia.

Several other tornadoes have also been documented as possibly attaining this status, though they are not officially rated as such. The work of tornado expert Thomas P. Grazulis revealed the existence of several dozen likely F5 tornadoes between 1880 and 1995. Grazulis also called into question the ratings of several tornadoes currently rated F5 by official sources. Many tornadoes officially rated F4/EF4 or equivalent have been disputed and described as actual F5/EF5 or equivalent tornadoes, and vice versa; since structures are completely destroyed in both cases, distinguishing between an EF4 tornado and an EF5 tornado is often very difficult.[9][10]

List of events[edit]

A map detailing the locations of all officially rated F5 and EF5 tornadoes in the United States from 1950 to 2013

The tornadoes on this list have been formally rated F5 by an official government source. Unless otherwise noted, the source of the F5 rating is the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS), as shown in the archives of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).[11][12]

Prior to 1950, assessments of F5 tornadoes are based primarily on the work of Thomas P. Grazulis. The NCDC has accepted 38 of his F5 classifications of tornadoes occurring between 1880 and 1950. In addition to the accepted ones, Grazulis rated a further 25 during the same period which were not accepted.[12][13] From 1950 to 1970, tornadoes were assessed retrospectively, primarily using information recorded in government databases, as well as newspaper photographs and eyewitness accounts. Beginning in 1971, tornadoes were rated by the NWS using on-site damage surveys.[14] Grazulis' work has identified 16 additional F5 tornadoes between 1950 and 1995, with four later being accepted by the NCDC.[12]

As of February 1, 2007, tornadoes in the United States are rated using the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which replaced the Fujita scale in order to more accurately correlate tornadic intensity with damage indicators and to augment and refine damage descriptors. No earlier tornadoes will be reclassified on the Enhanced Fujita scale, and no new tornadoes in the United States will be rated on the original Fujita scale. France and Canada also adopted the EF-Scale in subsequent years.

Official F5/EF5 tornadoes[edit]

Worldwide, a total of 62 tornadoes have been officially rated F5/EF5 since 1950: 59 in the United States and one each in France, Russia, and Canada. Of the 59 tornadoes in the United States, 50 are officially rated F5 on the original Fujita scale (with dates of occurrence between May 11, 1953, and May 3, 1999), and nine are officially rated EF5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale (with dates of occurrence between May 4, 2007, and May 20, 2013). An additional four tornadoes which occurred prior to 1950, all in Europe, have been officially rated F5 or equivalent by the European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL) or the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO), bringing the worldwide total for official ratings of F5/EF5 or equivalent to 66.

Tornadoes officially rated F5/EF5 or equivalent
Day Year Country State/Province Location Fatalities Notes Rated by
Jun 29 1764 Germany Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Woldegk 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.[15][16] ESSL, Genzmer
Apr 23 1800 Germany Saxony Hainichen 0 Homes were completely destroyed, and large swaths of forest were leveled with trees debarked.[15] ESSL
Aug 19 1845 France Normandy Montville 75 This tornado was rated T11.[17] 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).[18] ESSL, TORRO, Grazulis
Jul 24 1930 Italy Treviso,
Udine
Treviso, Udine 23 An extremely powerful tornado, rated T10. A large stone monastery was partially leveled to the ground.[17] TORRO
May 11 1953 United States Texas Waco, Bellmead 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.[9][13] First officially ranked F5 tornado in the United States.[11] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 29 1953 United States North Dakota Fort Rice 2 Tornado outbreak of May 29, 1953 – A large church was leveled and pews were jammed 4 ft (1.2 m) into the ground. Car parts were carried for 12 mi (0.80 km). Rated F4 by Grazulis.[9] SPC, NWS
Jun 8 1953 United States Michigan Flushing Township, Mount Morris Township, Beecher, Genesee Township 116 Flint-Worcester tornado outbreak sequence – Entire blocks of homes were completely swept away, with only rows of bare slabs and empty basements remaining. Cycloidal ground scouring occurred as well.[9][12][13][19][20] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 27 1953 United States Iowa Adair 1 1953 tornadoes of Anita, Iowa – Four farms were destroyed, with virtually nothing left at one of them. Heavy machinery was thrown hundreds of feet, and boards were driven into trees.[13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Dec 5 1953 United States Mississippi Vicksburg 38 1953 Vicksburg, Mississippi tornado – Many large brick buildings were leveled in downtown Vicksburg. The F5 rating is disputed by Grazulis, as the destroyed structures were frail.[13] SPC, NWS
May 25 1955 United States Oklahoma,
Kansas
Blackwell 20 1955 Great Plains tornado outbreak – Many homes and businesses were swept away in town.[9][13][21][22] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 25 1955 United States Oklahoma,
Kansas
Udall 80 1955 Great Plains tornado outbreak – Many homes and businesses were swept away in town.[13] Vehicles were thrown and stripped down to their frames, including a pickup truck that was partially wrapped around a tree. A 30-by-40-foot (9.1 by 12.2 m) concrete block building was obliterated, with the foundation left mostly bare.[23] Beams were also broken at a school building, and numerous trees were debarked.[9][13][24][25] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 3 1956 United States Michigan Hudsonville, Grand Rapids 18 April 1956 Hudsonville-Standale tornado – Many homes were swept completely away, leaving bare foundations behind.[9][13] Extensive wind-rowing of debris was observed, and vehicles were tossed hundreds of yards as well. One home that was swept away had all of its tile flooring scoured from the foundation.[9][13][26][27] Grazulis lists this tornado as an F4 but notes that it "probably produced F5 damage."[9] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 20 1957 United States Kansas,
Missouri
Spring Hill, Martin City, Raytown, Hickman Mills, Ruskin Heights 44 May 1957 Central Plains tornado outbreak – Entire rows of homes were swept away, with extensive wind-rowing of structural debris noted in nearby fields. Some homes had their anchor-bolted subflooring swept away as well, leaving only empty basements behind. 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.[13][28] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 20 1957 United States North Dakota,
Minnesota
Fargo, Moorhead 10 Fargo tornado – Many homes were leveled, with some swept completely away.[9] Part of the Golden Ridge subdivision was swept away, with the debris scattered long distances into nearby fields.[29] Fujita reportedly called this more intense than the 1965 Palm Sunday tornadoes he surveyed, some of which he rated F5 in the Chicago Damage Area Per Path Length (DAPPL).[12][13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis, Fujita
Dec 18 1957 United States Illinois Sunfield 1 December 1957 tornado outbreak sequence – The entire Sunfield community "vanished."[9][13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 4 1958 United States Wisconsin Menomonie, Colfax 21 1958 Colfax, Wisconsin tornado outbreak – Homes were swept away, and numerous trees were completely debarked. A car was wrapped around the side of a small steel bridge that collapsed in the tornado. Rated F4 by Grazulis.[9][13][30] SPC, NWS
May 5 1960 United States Oklahoma Prague 5 May 1960 tornado outbreak sequence – Homes were swept away, and heavy oil tanks were thrown long distances. Hillsides were stripped of most vegetation and up to 6 in (0.15 m) of topsoil.[13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 3 1964 United States Texas Wichita Falls 7 Homes were swept away, and a boxcar was thrown 100 yd (300 ft). A car was thrown a block and a half.[12][13][31] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 5 1964 United States Nebraska Bradshaw 4 Numerous farms were swept away.[12][13][32] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 8 1965 United States South Dakota Gregory 0 Early-May 1965 tornado outbreak sequence – Many farms were destroyed, including three that were swept completely away.[9][13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Mar 3 1966 United States Mississippi Jackson 57 1966 Candlestick Park tornado – Homes were swept away, and a brick church was obliterated.[9][33][34] Pavement was scoured from roads, and cars were thrown more than half a mile from where they originated.[33] The newly built Candlestick Park shopping center was leveled, and concrete masonry blocks were scattered for long distances.[9] Steel girders were "twisted like wet noodles" at a glass plant.[34] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 8 1966 United States Kansas Topeka 16 1966 Topeka tornado – Entire rows of homes were swept away, vehicles were thrown long distances, and grass was scoured from lawns.[9][13][35][36] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Oct 14 1966 United States Iowa Belmond 6 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.[13][37] The F5 rating is disputed; ranked F4 by Grazulis.[9] SPC, NWS
Jun 24 1967 France Hauts-de-France Palluel 6 Homes and other structures were swept away or leveled in and near Palluel.[15] ESSL
Apr 23 1968 United States Kentucky,
Ohio
Wheelersburg, Gallipolis 7 1968 Wheelersburg, Ohio tornado outbreak – Homes were swept away,[9][13] with only their foundations left in some cases. A large metal electrical transmission tower was ripped off at the base and thrown.[38] The F5 rating is disputed as structures swept away were not anchored properly.[13] SPC, NWS
May 15 1968 United States Iowa Charles City 13 May 1968 tornado outbreak – Many homes in town were swept away. Farms were swept away as well, and very intense multiple vortices were observed based upon ground damage patterns.[9] Cycloidal ground scouring occurred where the multiple vortices were noted.[13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 15 1968 United States Iowa Oelwein, Maynard 5 May 1968 tornado outbreak – Homes were swept completely away in both towns.[13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 13 1968 United States Minnesota Tracy 9 1968 Tracy tornado – 111 homes were destroyed in town, with some 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.[13] Extensive ground scouring occurred outside of town, and several farms were swept completely away.[39] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 11 1970 United States Texas Lubbock 26 1970 Lubbock tornado – Homes were swept away and a high-rise building suffered structural deformation. A 13-tonne (28,660 lb) 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).[9][13][40][41] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis, Fujita
Feb 21 1971 United States Louisiana,
Mississippi
Delhi, Delta City, Inverness, Moorhead 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.[9] Homes were completely leveled east of Delhi.[13] SPC, NWS
May 6 1973 United States Texas Valley Mills 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).[13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 3 1974 United States Indiana Depauw, Daisy Hill 6 1974 Super Outbreak – Homes were swept completely away, and entire farms were leveled.[13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 3 1974 United States Ohio Xenia 32 1974 Super Outbreak – Aerial photography and isoline surveys by Fujita showed that entire rows of brick homes were swept away and sustained F5 damage.[13][42] Wind-rowing of debris occurred in nearby fields,[42] and very intense damage was reported to steel-reinforced schools.[43] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis, Fujita
Apr 3 1974 United States Kentucky,
Indiana
Hardinsburg, Brandenburg, Harrison County 31 1974 Super Outbreak – Multiple well-built, anchor-bolted homes were swept away, including one that sustained total collapse of its poured concrete walk-out basement wall.[44] Grass was scoured from the ground, and aerial photography showed extensive wind-rowing in Brandenburg.[42] Trees were completely debarked, and low-lying shrubs next to leveled homes were uprooted and stripped.[13][44] Multiple vehicles were also thrown hundreds of yards and stripped down to their frames.[9][45] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 3 1974 United States Indiana,
Kentucky,
Ohio
Rising Sun, Boone County, Sayler Park (West Cincinnati), Mack, Bridgetown 3 1974 Super Outbreak – Homes were swept away, and a large floating restaurant barge was lifted, ripped from its moorings, and flipped upside-down by the tornado. Boats and vehicles were carried long distances through the air.[13][46][47] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 3 1974 United States Alabama Mount Hope, Tanner, Harvest 28 1974 Super Outbreak – Numerous homes were swept away and scattered.[48][49] In Limestone County, where the F5 damage occurred,[42] a large swath of trees was leveled, and ground scouring occurred nearby with dirt found to have been dug up and plastered to the bark, and a pump was lifted out of a well at one location.[9][13][50] Shrubbery was debarked as well.[49] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 3 1974 United States Alabama,
Tennessee
Tanner, Hazel Green, Franklin County, Lincoln County, Coffee County 22 1974 Super Outbreak – Officially listed as an F5, but rated an F4 by Grazulis and Fujita. Crossed into Tennessee and did F4 damage in both states,[9] though the supposed F5 damage only occurred in Alabama, where numerous homes were swept away and extensive wind-rowing of debris occurred.[48] Some of the damage in Tennessee was previously rated F5, but later downgraded to F4.[51] SPC, NWS, NWA
Apr 3 1974 United States Alabama Guin, Twin, Delmar 28 1974 Super Outbreak – According to the NWS in Birmingham, Alabama, this is considered one of the strongest tornadoes ever to impact the United States.[52] Sources indicate that F5 damage was reported along much of the path, and that many homes in and near Guin sustained F5 damage.[9] Many of these homes were swept away, their debris being scattered across fields,[53] and some reportedly had their "foundations dislodged and in some cases swept away as well."[13][54][55] Nothing was left of the Guin Mobile Home Plant but a pile of mangled beams.[9][55][56] Additionally, photographs showed intense wind-rowing from suction vortices.[53] The path of the tornado was visible in satellite imagery, as thousands of trees, including in the Bankhead National Forest, were snapped.[9] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Mar 26 1976 United States Oklahoma Spiro 2 Frame homes were swept away,[13] and 134,000-pound (60,780 kg) coal cars were tossed. Rated F4 by Grazulis.[9][57] SPC, NWS
Apr 19 1976 United States Texas Brownwood 0 Homes were swept away, with only a bathtub remaining on one of the foundations. Several teenagers were caught in the open and were picked up and thrown 1,000 yd (0.57 mi) but survived. Rated F4 by Grazulis.[9] SPC, NWS
Jun 13 1976 United States Iowa Jordan 0 Homes were swept away.[9] This tornado was mentioned by Fujita as one of the most intense he surveyed. Well-built farms reportedly vanished without a trace.[43] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis, Fujita
Apr 4 1977 United States Alabama Birmingham, Tarrant 22 April 1977 Birmingham tornado – Many homes were swept away, some of which had all of their cinder block walk-out basement walls completely swept away as well. Trees were debarked and two dump trucks were thrown through the air.[9][58] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 2 1982 United States Oklahoma Broken Bow 0 A house was swept away with only carpet tacks left on the empty foundation. The F5 rating is disputed because the home was likely not anchored properly and its destruction may not even warrant an F4 rating. Other houses suffered F4 damage.[9] SPC, NWS
Jun 7–8 1984 United States Wisconsin Barneveld, Black Earth 9 Barneveld, Wisconsin tornado outbreak – A cul-de-sac of newly built homes was swept away, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards. Small trees were debarked as well.[9][59][60] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 9 1984 Soviet Union (Russia) Ivanovo Oblast Ivanovo, Lunevo 69 1984 Soviet Union tornado outbreak – An extremely intense multiple vortex tornado[61] overturned a crane, threw a multi-ton water tank over 200 metres (660 ft), unrooted and threw trees long distances,[62] and destroyed a steel-reinforced building.[63] The tornado was exceptionally long-lived, remaining on the ground for roughly 100 mi (160 km) over the course of two hours. At least 69 fatalities were confirmed, though the actual toll was likely higher.[15] TORRO
May 31 1985 United States Ohio,
Pennsylvania
Niles, Wheatland 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, sustaining F5 damage and several deaths. Metal girders at the center twisted and buckled.[9][13][64] Well-built, anchor-bolted homes were swept away, and 75,000-pound (34,020 kg) petroleum storage tanks were ripped from their anchors and thrown hundreds of feet.[65] Pavement was scoured from a parking lot, and a steel-frame trucking plant was obliterated and partially swept away with the beams severely mangled. Routing slips from the plant were found wedged into the remaining asphalt of the parking lot. An airplane wing was carried 10 miles (16 km) from where it originated.[9][65] This remains the only F5 or EF5 in Pennsylvania history. SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Mar 13 1990 United States Kansas Castleton, Haven, Burrton, Hesston 1 March 1990 Central US tornado outbreak – Many homes and businesses were swept away in town with only slabs and empty basements remaining. Industrial buildings were obliterated and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards and stripped down to their frames.[13] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Mar 13 1990 United States Kansas Goessel 1 March 1990 Central US tornado outbreak – Homes were obliterated and swept away,[13] but the F5 rating was assigned due to very intense cycloidal ground scouring.[66] 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.[13][67] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Aug 28 1990 United States Illinois Oswego, Plainfield, Joliet 29 1990 Plainfield tornado – Rain-wrapped tornado. A mature corn crop was scoured from the ground, leaving nothing but bare soil behind. Several inches of topsoil were blown away as well.[13][68] A 20-tonne (20,000 kg) tractor trailer was tossed from a road and thrown more than half a mile, and vehicles were picked up and carried through the air.[68] The F5 rating is based solely upon the extreme ground scouring; areas in Plainfield sustained high-end F4 structural damage, though the ground scouring nearby was much less intense than where the corn crop was obliterated.[13][68] Fujita considered the intensity of the ground scouring "comparable to the worst he had seen."[68] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis, Fujita
Apr 26 1991 United States Kansas Haysville, McConnell Air Force Base, Andover, El Dorado Lake 17 April 26, 1991 tornado outbreak – Many large, well-built homes with anchor bolts were swept away, leaving bare foundations behind, and grass was scoured from the ground.[13][69] Extensive wind-rowing of debris occurred, leaving streaks of debris extending away from empty foundations.[69] Trees and small twigs were completely stripped of their bark.[9] Vehicles were thrown up to .75 mi (1.2 km) from where they originated and were mangled beyond recognition.[70] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 16 1992 United States Minnesota Chandler, Lake Wilson 1 Mid-June 1992 tornado outbreak – Multiple homes were swept away, and vehicles were thrown and stripped down to their frames.[13][71] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jul 18 1996 United States Wisconsin Oakfield 0 1996 Oakfield tornado – Well-built homes with anchor bolts were swept away, including one where rebar supports were bent over at a 90-degree 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.[13][72] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 27 1997 United States Texas Jarrell 27 1997 Central Texas tornado outbreak – Produced some of the most extreme damage ever documented.[13] An entire subdivision of well-built homes was swept completely away with very little debris remaining. Some of the homes were well-bolted to their foundations. Long expanses of pavement were 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. The tornado was very slow-moving, which may have exacerbated the destruction to some extent.[13][73] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 8 1998 United States Alabama Oak Grove, Sylvan Springs, Pleasant Grove, Edgewater, Birmingham 32 April 1998 Birmingham tornado – Many homes were swept away along the path.[13][74][75] SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 16 1998 United States Tennessee Wayne County, Lawrence County 0 1998 Nashville tornado outbreak – This tornado produced extreme damage at ground level.[13] Many large and well-built homes with anchor bolts 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.[13][76][51] SPC, NWS, NWA, NCDC, Grazulis
May 3 1999 United States Oklahoma Amber, Bridge Creek, Newcastle, Moore, Oklahoma City, Del City, Midwest City 36 1999 Bridge Creek–Moore tornado – Mobile radar recorded winds up to 302 ± 22 mph (486 ± 35 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, and debris from some homes was finely granulated. Severe ground and pavement scouring occurred, trees and shrubs were completely debarked, and vehicles were thrown up to 440 yd (402 m) from where they originated. An airplane wing was carried for several miles, and a 36,000-pound (16,329 kg) freight car was bounced 3/4 of a mile.[13][77][78][79] This was the 50th and last tornado to be officially rated F5 on the Fujita scale in the United States before the introduction of the Enhanced Fujita Scale in 2007. SPC, NWS, NCDC, Grazulis, DOW, Wurman
May 4 2007 United States Kansas Greensburg 11 May 2007 tornado outbreak – This tornado destroyed 95% of the town, including seven well-built homes with anchor bolts that were swept away. Vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards and mangled, several freight train cars were overturned, and multi-ton oil tanks were destroyed. Fire hydrants were ripped from the ground in town, and large trees were completely denuded and debarked as well.[80] This was the first tornado to have been rated EF5 after the retirement of the original Fujita Scale in the United States in February 2007. Aerial views of the tornado's path showed spiral and erratic paths from suction vortices in fields before it hit Greensburg; the area was partially scoured with some vegetation removed. SPC, NWS, Marshall
Jun 22 2007 Canada Manitoba Elie 0 Elie, Manitoba tornado – Two homes were swept away, including one that was well-bolted to its foundation. A few of the bolts themselves were snapped off. A van was thrown 150 metres (490 ft) through the air, and nearby trees were debarked as well.[81] Only officially rated F5 tornado in Canada.[82] Last tornado to be rated F5 due to Environment Canada utilizing the Enhanced Fujita Scale beginning April 1, 2013. EC
May 25 2008 United States Iowa Parkersburg, New Hartford 9 Late-May 2008 tornado outbreak sequence – Well-built homes with anchor bolts were swept away, 17 of which were assessed to have sustained EF5 damage. Two of them had no visible debris left anywhere near the foundations.[83][84] A concrete walk-out basement wall was pushed over at one home, and the concrete floor was cracked. A rebar support set into the foundation of another home was found snapped in half, and reinforced concrete light poles were snapped and dragged along the ground. A large industrial building was completely destroyed, with metal beams twisted and sheared off at their bases, and the foundation pushed clean of the metal framing and debris. Vehicles were thrown long distances and stripped down to their frames as well. Additionally, a large field east of Parkersburg was filled with finely granulated debris that was wind-rowed in long streaks, trees were completely debarked, and shrubs were uprooted and stripped in some areas.[83][84][85] SPC, NWS
Apr 27 2011 United States Mississippi Philadelphia, Preston 3 2011 Philadelphia, Mississippi tornado – Rated EF5 based upon extreme ground scouring. The tornado dug a trench 2 ft (0.61 m) deep into a pasture, leaving nothing but large clumps of dirt and bare topsoil behind.[86] A tied-down mobile home was lofted through the air and carried 300 yd (274 m), with no indication of contact with the ground. Several vehicles were tossed hundreds of yards and wrapped around trees,[86] and a steel I-beam was twisted and embedded into the ground. Pavement was scoured from roads as well, and extreme debarking and denuding of trees occurred, some of which were ripped out of the ground and thrown up to 20 yards away. SPC, NWS
Apr 27 2011 United States Mississippi,
Alabama
Smithville, Shottsville 23 2011 Smithville, Mississippi tornado – This tornado produced some of the most violent damage ever documented. Numerous well-built, anchor-bolted brick homes were swept away, including one that had part of its concrete slab foundation pulled up and dislodged slightly. Floor tiles and anchor bolts were ripped from the foundations of several homes. An SUV was thrown half a mile into the top of the town's water tower, and was recovered on the opposite side of town. Other vehicles were torn into multiple pieces, stripped down to their frames, wrapped around trees, or simply never recovered. In the most intense damage area, all plumbing and appliances at home-sites were "shredded or missing", and debris was finely granulated.[87] Chip and tar pavement was torn from road, large trees were completely debarked, and a metal waste pipe was pulled out of the ground. Manhole covers and fire hydrants were ripped from the ground as well. A large brick funeral home was reduced to a bare slab, and extensive wind-rowing of debris occurred next to the foundation. Outside of town, the ground was deeply scoured in an open field.[88] Additionally, low-lying vegetation and shrubbery was completely debarked and shredded.[88][89][90][91] SPC, NWS
Apr 27 2011 United States Alabama,
Tennessee
Hamilton, Hackleburg, Phil Campbell, Tanner, Athens, Harvest, Huntland 72 2011 Hackleburg–Phil Campbell tornado – This was the deadliest tornado in Alabama history. Numerous homes, some of which were large, well-built, and anchor-bolted were swept away. Debris from some obliterated homes was scattered and wind-rowed well away from the foundations.[92][93] One home that was swept away had its concrete stemwalls sheared off at ground level. Vehicles were thrown at least 200 yd (183 m),[92] and at least one large vehicle that was missing after the tornado was never located.[93] Hundreds of trees were completely debarked and twisted, and in some cases were reduced only to stubs.[93] Pavement was scoured from roads as well, a large industrial plant was leveled to the ground, and a restaurant that was swept away had a small portion of its foundation slab torn apart.[93][94] SPC, NWS
Apr 27 2011 United States Alabama,
Georgia
Fyffe, Rainsville, Sylvania, Ider 25 2011 Super Outbreak – Many homes were swept away, some of which had their concrete porches torn away and shattered, with debris strewn up to a mile away from the foundations in some cases. A few of the homes were bolted to their foundations. 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 had much of its dirt covering scoured away and was heaved slightly out of the ground, and pavement was scoured from roads. One well-built stone house was completely obliterated, and a stone pillar was ripped completely out of the ground at that residence, pulling up a section of house foundation in the process.[95][96] SPC, NWS
May 22 2011 United States Missouri Joplin, Duquesne 158 2011 Joplin tornado – Deadliest tornado in the United States since 1947. Many homes, business, and steel-frame industrial buildings were swept away, and large vehicles including semi-trucks and buses were thrown hundreds of yards. A large multi-story hospital had its foundation and underpinning system so severely damaged that it was structurally compromised and had to be torn down. Reinforced concrete porches were deformed, lifted, and tossed, and 300-pound (136 kg) concrete parking stops anchored with rebar were ripped from parking lots and tossed well over 100 ft (30 m). Vehicles were thrown several blocks away from the residences where they originated, and a few were never recovered. Damage to driveways was noted at some residences as well. A large steel-reinforced concrete "step and floor structure" leading to one building was warped slightly and cracked.[97] 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 structural damage (at and around the hospital) and that it could have easily been missed in the survey, and the EF5 rating was mainly based on large vehicles being thrown long distances, along with non-conventional, non-structural instances of damage, such as removal of manhole covers, pavement, concrete porches, driveways, and parking stops, and the presence of wind-rowed debris.[97][98][99] SPC, NWS, Marshall
May 24 2011 United States Oklahoma Hinton, Calumet, El Reno, Piedmont, Guthrie 9 Tornado outbreak sequence of May 21–26, 2011 – 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. Cars were thrown long distances and wrapped around trees, including an SUV that was thrown 780 yd (713 m) and had its body ripped from the frame. Several cars near the beginning of the path were thrown more than 1,093 yd (0.62 mi).[100][101] Additionally, a 20,000-pound (9,072 kg) oil tanker truck was thrown approximately 1 mi (1.6 km).[102][103] Mobile Doppler radar indicate wind speeds as high as 295 mph (475 km/h).[104] SPC, NWS, Wurman
May 20 2013 United States Oklahoma Newcastle, Moore 24 2013 Moore tornado – Many homes were swept away, including nine that were well-built and bolted to their foundations and two elementary schools were completely destroyed.[105] Extensive ground scouring occurred with only bare soil left in some areas, and a 10-ton propane tank was thrown more than half a mile through the air. Trees and shrubs were completely debarked, wind-rowing of debris was noted, and an oil tank was thrown a full mile from a production site, while another was never found.[106][107] A manhole cover was removed near Moore Medical Center, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards and torn into multiple pieces.[108][109] SPC, NWS, Marshall

Possible F5/EF5 tornadoes officially rated F4/EF4 or lower[edit]

Because the distinctions between F4/EF4 and F5/EF5 tornadoes are often ambiguous, the official ratings of numerous other tornadoes formally rated below F5/EF5 or equivalent have been disputed, with certain government sources or independent studies contradicting the official record.

Tornadoes officially rated below F5/EF5 or equivalent but which may have been F5/EF5
Day Year Country State/Province Location Fatalities Notes Rated F5/EF5 by
Jul 20 1931 Poland Lublin Voivodeship Lublin 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.[15] ESSL
Jun 17 1946 United States,
Canada
Michigan,
Ontario
River Rouge, Windsor, LaSalle, Tecumseh 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.[110] EC
May 18 1951 United States Texas Olney 2 Many homes in town were destroyed, some of which were swept away with very little debris left. Noted as "possibly F5" by Grazulis.[13][9] Grazulis
Mar 21 1952 United States Mississippi,
Tennessee
Byhalia, Moscow 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.[12][111] The only possible F5 damage was to a concrete block structure that may or may not have been steel-reinforced.[51] It originally was the first officially ranked F5 tornado in the United States, but was later downgraded to F4.[51] NCDC, NWA
May 22 1952 United States Kansas Linwood, Edwardsville 0 This tornado moved at 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) and destroyed dozen homes. The home of a bank president was leveled. Grazulis notes it as "possibly F5."[9] Grazulis
Jun 8 1953 United States Ohio Cygnet 18 Flint–Worcester tornado outbreak sequence – Possible but unverifiable F5 damage occurred near Cygnet where homes were swept completely away.[9] A steel-and-concrete bridge was destroyed as the tornado passed near Jerry City.[13][112] Grazulis
Jun 9 1953 United States Massachusetts Worcester 94 Flint-Worcester tornado outbreak sequence – Many strong structures with numerous interior walls were leveled,[9] and entire blocks of homes were swept cleanly away.[13] The large, brick Assumption College sustained severe damage, and its upper stories were completely destroyed.[9] A large, multi-ton storage tank was carried over a road,[113] and trees along the path were debarked as well.[114] Debris from this tornado was found in the Atlantic Ocean.[13] The tornado was rated F5 by Grazulis in a later publication.[115] Grazulis
May 1 1954 United States Texas,
Oklahoma
Crowell, Vernon, Snyder 0 Vehicles were thrown more than 100 yd (300 ft),[13] and three farms were entirely swept away. Noted as "possibly F5" by Grazulis. [9] Grazulis
Jul 2 1955 United States North Dakota Walcott 2 Eleven farms were completely leveled or swept away. One farm appeared to show potential F5 damage to a home that was swept completely away.[9] Grazulis
May 21 1957 United States Missouri Fremont 7 May 1957 Central Plains tornado outbreak – Most of Fremont was destroyed, with many structures swept away. Possible F5 damage occurred to schools, homes, and businesses near the railroad tracks, but houses in the area were poorly constructed.[9] Grazulis
Jun 16 1957 Italy Pavia Robecco Pavese, Valle Scuropasso 7 Many large stone buildings were flattened. Officially rated F4 but images show possible T10/low-end F5 damage.[15] ESSL
Jun 10 1958 United States Kansas El Dorado 15 Reports indicated possible F5-level damage to homes.[9] A car was thrown 100 yd (300 ft), but damage photographs were inconclusive as to whether F5 structural damage occurred.[13] Grazulis
May 19 1960 United States Kansas Wamego 0 Rated F5 by Grazulis as two farms were swept away.[9][13] Grazulis
May 30 1961 United States Nebraska Custer County, Valley County 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.[9][12][13] NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 6 1963 United States South Dakota near Martin 0 Produced possible F5 damage over farmland north of Martin according to Grazulis. A church "disappeared" and one home "seemed to evaporate into the air." This tornado is listed as only F3 in the official database. [9][13] Grazulis
Apr 12 1964 United States Kansas near Lawrence 0 Produced possible F5 damage according to Grazulis. Farms were leveled and a truck was thrown 300 yd (274 m).[9][13] Grazulis
Apr 11 1965 United States Indiana Midway 14 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – This was the first of two violent tornadoes to hit the Dunlap area, north of Goshen.[9] Homes were swept away, and an airplane wing was found 35 miles (56 km) away in Michigan.[13] This tornado was famously photographed with twin funnels.[9] Grazulis
Apr 11 1965 United States Indiana Dunlap 36 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – This was the second violent tornado to strike Dunlap within 90 minutes.[9][12] A well-built truck stop was leveled and many permanent homes were swept away in two subdivisions.[9] Rated F5 by Fujita in the Chicago Damage Area Per Path Length (DAPPL), but later downgraded to F4, the tornado is widely considered to be an F5 in older sources.[12][13] NCDC, Grazulis, Fujita
Apr 11 1965 United States Indiana Lebanon, Sheridan 28 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – This is listed as an F5 in the NCDC memorandum. Farms were obliterated and vehicles were thrown up 100 yd (300 ft).[9][12] NCDC
Apr 11 1965 United States Ohio Toledo 18 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – Homes were completely swept away with borderline-F5 damage in North Toledo. Boats and buses were thrown into and onto buildings. Rated F5 originally by Fujita in the Chicago Damage Area Per Path Length (DAPPL), and by the NWS, but later downgraded to an F4.[citation needed] Grazulis, Fujita
Apr 11 1965 United States Ohio Pittsfield, Strongsville 18 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – Homes were cleanly swept away in Strongsville and Pittsfield, and Pittsfield was completely destroyed.[9] Only a concrete war monument remained standing in Pittsfield, where homes "vanished."[116] Rated F5 by Fujita in the Chicago Damage Area Per Path Length (DAPPL), but later downgraded to F4, though widely considered an F5 in older reports.[12][13] Grazulis, Fujita
May 8 1965 United States Nebraska Primrose 4 Early-May 1965 tornado outbreak sequence – Widely accepted as an F5,[12] and reported to have been a double tornado as it hit Primrose.[117] Homes were swept from their foundations, and 90% of the village was destroyed.[13][118][119] Cars from Primrose were carried for 400 yd (1,200 ft), and a truck body was carried and rolled for 2 mi (3.2 km).[9] NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 23 1968 United States Kentucky Falmouth 6 1968 Wheelersburg, Ohio tornado outbreak – Mentioned as a possible F5 by Grazulis.[13] Grazulis
Apr 27 1971 United States Kentucky Gosser Ridge 2 Most buildings on a farm were swept away. Listed as a "questionable" F5 in the NCDC Tech Memo. Rated an F4 according to Grazulis and official records.[9][12] NCDC
May 24 1973 United States Oklahoma Union City 2 A carport was carried intact to the north while the rest of the house was destroyed with the foundation swept clean. A barn was destroyed and trees still standing were denuded, a flatbed truck rolled over, a car was torn apart with only the frame remaining nearby. A small frame house was also destroyed with its foundation clean.[120][121] NSSL
Apr 3 1974 United States Tennessee Lincoln County, Franklin County, Coffee County 11 1974 Super Outbreak – Intense tornado that caused unverifiable F5 damage when it leveled and swept away several "well constructed homes" in Franklin County.[9][51] Destroyed roughly 46 homes and 90 barns in just that county alone. Developed from the same thunderstorm that produced the first F5 Tanner tornado.[9] Previously rated F5 by NWS, but later downgraded to F4.[51] NWS, NWA
Jun 9 1984 Soviet Union (Russia) Kostroma Oblast Kostroma, Lyubim 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.[122] Pending
Jul 31 1987 Canada Alberta Edmonton 27 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.[123] If so this would make it the earliest such tornado since records have been kept, next to the 2007 Elie, Manitoba, tornado. EC
Apr 26 1991 United States Oklahoma Red Rock 0 April 26, 1991 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. Officially rated F4, but is mentioned by some sources as an F5 or possible F5.[9][13][124] Grazulis
Jun 8 1995 United States Texas McLean, Kellerville 0 Project VORTEX assessed tornado to be F5; one home was so obliterated that the National Weather Service survey likely missed it. [125] Intense pavement and ground scouring occurred, with only bare soil left in some areas.[13][126] VORTEX, Grazulis
Jun 8 1995 United States Texas Allison, Texas 0 A National Weather Service damage survey was not conducted due in part to the extensive damage and injuries from another tornado in Pampa, Texas. Four homes were destroyed and more than 800 head of livestock were killed. An NCDC report states that "all sighting reports would place this as an F5 tornado" with storm spotters calling it "one of the biggest and meanest appearing tornadoes they had ever seen." However, this tornado hit few man-made structures and a significant amount of time elapsed before damage could be examined, so it could not be rated higher than F4.[127][128][129] NWS, VORTEX
Apr 16 1998 United States Tennessee Hardin County, Wayne County 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.[76] NWS
May 30 1998 United States South Dakota Spencer 6 DOW recorded maximum wind speeds at 264 mph (425 km/h) at 160 ft above ground level, which the NWS classified at almost ground level. Such wind speeds would fall well into the EF5 range on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, though the maximum damage intensity observed in the town of Spencer was F4. The town's water tower was toppled to the ground, an apartment building was leveled, and many homes were completely destroyed, a few of which were swept away.[130] Wurman
May 11 1999 United States Texas Loyal Valley 1 Officially rated high-end F4, though one survey revealed potential F5 damage.[131] Two homes were completely swept away, with debris scattered over great distances. Large pieces of a pickup truck were found 3/4 of a mile away from the residence where it originated, and a 720-foot long stretch of pavement was scoured from a road. Ground scouring occurred, and numerous mesquite trees were completely denuded and debarked. [132] A reporter who also witnessed the destruction at Jarrell said "I hadn't seen anything like that. I couldn't believe what it did to animals, This was wiped clean, too, but the cattle - their hides had been ripped right off of them. Some of them were missing heads, and some were caught up and entwined in barbed wire." Had this tornado touched down in an urban area, the devastation likely would have rivaled that from Oklahoma City or the storm that leveled a subdivision in Jarrell in 1997.[131][133] Hecke
Apr 27 2011 United States Alabama Tuscaloosa, Holt, Hueytown, Concord, Pleasant Grove, McDonald Chapel, Birmingham, Fultondale 64 2011 Tuscaloosa–Birmingham tornado – Officially rated high-end EF4, though the final rating was a source of controversy, and one survey team rated some of the damage as EF5. Many homes, a large section of an apartment building, and a clubhouse were swept away, though these structures were either poorly anchored, lacked interior walls, or surrounded by contextual damage not consistent with an EF5 tornado. A manhole cover was removed from a drain and thrown into a ravine near the clubhouse. 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) through the air.[79][95] NWS
May 24 2011 United States Oklahoma Chickasha, Blanchard, Newcastle 1 Tornado outbreak sequence of May 21–26, 2011 – Officially rated a high-end EF4; however, the survey conducted by NWS Norman mentions this tornado as being a "plausible EF5". Well-built homes with anchor bolts were swept away, pavement was scoured from roads and driveways, and vehicles were thrown up to 600 yd (549 m) away, some of which were torn into multiple pieces or stripped down to their frames. Trees were reduced to completely debarked stumps, and severe ground scouring occurred, with all grass and several inches of topsoil removed in some areas. A reinforced concrete dome home was severely damaged and cracked.[79][134][135] NWS
May 31 2013 United States Oklahoma El Reno 8 2013 El Reno tornado – Largest tornado on record at 2.6 miles (4.2 km) wide. Initially rated EF5 based solely on mobile Doppler radar measurements, which recorded winds over 302 miles per hour (486 km/h).[136] However, the most significant structural damage was rated EF3, as the tornado did not strike any buildings when the EF5 winds were recorded. The rating was eventually downgraded to EF3 because of this, though the practicality of the downgrade has been disputed by some meteorologists.[137][138] NCEI, CSWR, Wurman
Apr 27 2014 United States Arkansas Mayflower, Vilonia 16 Tornado outbreak of April 27–30, 2014 – Officially rated high-end EF4, though the rating was a major source of controversy, and meteorologist/civil engineer Timothy P. Marshall noted that the rating assigned was "lower-bound", and also noted "the possibility that EF5 winds could have occurred" despite the structural flaws responsible for the EF4 rating.[139][140] Numerous homes were swept completely away with only bare slabs left, including one that was well-bolted to its foundation, and extensive wind-rowing of debris occurred. Trees were completely debarked and denuded, shrubs were shredded and debarked, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards and stripped down to their frames. In one instance, a well-built houses was swept away, but an EF5 rating was not assigned as it was just one house and it had been struck by debris from other buildings.[141] A large 29,998-pound metal fertilizer tank was found approximately 3/4 of a mile away from where it originated.[139][142][143] Extensive ground scouring occurred as well.[144] NWS, Marshall
May 24 2016 United States Kansas Dodge City 0 Tornado outbreak sequence of May 22–26, 2016 – During the initial stages of development, there was DOW data on this tornado. It intensified from 40 meters/second to 90 meters/second in a span of 21 seconds that lasted less than a minute at those velocities. This would have been enough to produce EF5 damage briefly, based on those velocities. As the tornado moved north into a housing addition just west of Dodge City, it showed multiple vortex characteristics and did EF2 Damage. One person was seriously hurt in a home that was heavily damaged. [145] NCEI, CSWR
May 25 2016 United States Kansas Solomon, Abilene, Chapman 0 Tornado outbreak sequence of May 22–26, 2016 – An anchor-bolted brick farm home was swept away and was ripped from its foundation so violently that part of the foundation was severely cracked, though the area surrounding the home was not swept completely clean. Vehicles and large pieces of farm machinery were thrown and mangled beyond recognition, and a section of metal railroad track was bent horizontally by the tornado. Officially rated EF4 with winds of 180 mph (290 km/h), though NWS Topeka damage surveyors later noted that based on the severity of the damage in rural areas, it "could have very well been" rated EF5 had it struck Chapman directly.[146][141][147] NWS

Possible F5/EF5 tornadoes with no official rating[edit]

Many other tornadoes have never been formally rated by an official government source but have nonetheless been described as F5/EF5 or equivalent, often by independent studies. Most of these tornadoes occurred prior to 1950, before tornadoes were rated according to standardized damage assessments, and their unofficial classifications as F5/EF5 or equivalent have been made in retrospect, largely on the basis of photographic analysis and eyewitness accounts. A few, such as the Tri-State Tornado of 1925, are widely accepted as F5/EF5 tornadoes, despite not being rated as such in official records.

Tornadoes with no official rating, but which may have been F5/EF5 or equivalent
Day Year Country State/Province Location Fatalities Notes Rated F5/EF5 by
Apr 24 1880 United States Illinois West Prairie, Christian County 6 Many "well built" homes were leveled and farms vanished. Its victims (both people and cattle) were reportedly carried up to half a mile. This is the earliest estimated F5 that can be verified in the U.S. according to Grazulis. (The 1953 Waco tornado is the earliest officially rated - see section.) The F5 rating is widely accepted.[12][13][148][149] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 12 1881 United States Missouri Hopkins 2 1881 Hopkins tornado – Two farms were completely swept away.[12][13][150] May have reached F5 intensity according to Grazulis. NCDC, Grazulis
Jul 15 1881 United States Minnesota Renville County 20 1881 Minnesota tornado outbreak – According to Grazulis, this tornado was "probably" an F5. Severe damage occurred in Renville County where five farms were completely swept away.[150] Grazulis
Jun 17 1882 United States Iowa Grinnell 68 16 farms were blown away and the town of Grinnell was devastated, as well as the Grinnell College campus. Debris was carried 100 mi (160 km). Caused 68 fatalities according to Grazulis.[12][13][151][152] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Aug 21 1883 United States Minnesota Rochester 37 1883 Rochester tornado – Numerous homes in Rochester were destroyed, some of which were oblitereted and swept away with the debris finely granulated. Trees were completely debarked, and grass and shrubbery was scoured from the ground. A large metal railroad bridge was completely destroyed and mangled. At least 10 farms outside the city were also completely leveled and swept away, with little debris recovered at some of them.[13][153][154][155] NWS, Grazulis
Apr 1 1884 United States Indiana Oakville 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.[12][13][156][157] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 15 1892 United States Minnesota Faribault County, Freeborn County, Steele County 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.[13][158] Grazulis
May 22 1893 United States Wisconsin Willow Springs 3 Two farm complexes were completely swept away.[12][13][159] NCDC, Grazulis
Jul 6 1893 United States Iowa Pomeroy 71 Well-built homes were swept away in four counties with F5 damage in the town of Pomeroy.[13][160] Grass was scoured from the ground, and a metal bridge was torn from its supports. A well pump and 40 ft (12 m) of piping were pulled out of the ground.[161][152] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Sep 21 1894 United States Iowa Kossuth County 43 Five farms and a home were swept away, leaving little trace.[12][13][162][152] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 1 1895 United States Kansas Harvey County 8 Farms "entirely vanished," with debris carried for miles.[12][13][163] NCDC, Grazulis
May 3 1895 United States Iowa Sioux County 9 Farms were swept away, with debris carried for miles.[13][163][152] NWS, Grazulis
May 15 1896 United States Texas Sherman 73 May 1896 tornado outbreak sequence – This was one of the most intense tornadoes of the 19th century according to Grazulis.[12][164] "Extraordinary" damage occurred to farms and 20 homes that were completely obliterated and swept away.[13][164][165] An iron-beam bridge was torn apart and scattered, with one of the beams deeply embedded into the ground.[166][167] Trees were reduced to debarked stumps, and grass was scoured from lawns in town as well. Several headstones at a cemetery were shattered or thrown up to 250 yards through the air, and a trunk lid from Sherman was found 35 miles away.[168] Reliable reports said that numerous bodies were carried hundreds of yards,[164] and that multiple deaths occurred in 17 different families; seven deaths were in one family alone.[164][169] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 17 1896 United States Kansas,
Nebraska
Washington County, Marshall County, Nemaha County, Brown County, Richardson County 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."[13][164] Damage estimated at $400,000.[170] NWS, Grazulis
May 25 1896 United States Michigan Ortonville, Oakwood 47 May 1896 tornado outbreak sequence – Houses and farms were leveled and swept away, with debris carried up to 12 mi (19 km) away. Trees were completely debarked, with even small twigs stripped bare in some cases.[12][13][171][172] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 18 1898 United States Wisconsin Marathon County 12 12 farms were flattened. Timber losses totaled 100 million board feet.[13][173] Grazulis
Jun 11 1899 United States Nebraska,
Iowa
Salix 5 This tornado impacted several farms, including one where a "fine new residence" was swept completely away.[12][174] NCDC
Jun 12 1899 United States Wisconsin St. Croix County, New Richmond 117 New Richmond tornado – This tornado devastated New Richmond, leveling or sweeping away many homes and businesses.[174] A large section of the town was reduced to nothing but scattered debris and house foundations. The three-story brick Nicollet Hotel was completely leveled to the ground.[175] Numerous trees were completely debarked and shorn of their branches.[175][176] A 3,000-pound (1,361 kg) safe was carried a full block.[174][20] Grazulis
May 10 1905 United States Oklahoma Snyder 97 Snyder, Oklahoma tornado – The town of Snyder was devastated, with many structures swept away.[12][13][177] A piano was found in a field 8 mi (13 km) outside town, and debris was carried 60 mi (97 km) away.[178][179] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 5 1905 United States Michigan Colling 5 Three farms were "wiped out of existence" with only "bits of kindling" remaining on the foundations.[13][180] Grazulis
Jun 5 1906 United States Iowa,
Minnesota,
Wisconsin
Houston County 4 A farm was completely leveled, and a child was reportedly carried .5 mi (0.80 km) away.[12][181] NCDC
Apr 23 1908 United States Nebraska Cuming County, Thurston County 3 1908 Dixie tornado outbreak – A well-built two-story home was swept away.[12][13][182] NCDC, Grazulis
May 12 1908 United States Iowa Fremont County, Page County 0 Five farms had all buildings swept away, homes were "absolutely reduced to kindling," and lumber was scattered for miles.[12][13][183] NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 5 1908 United States Nebraska Fillmore County 11 Farms vanished, with little left to indicate farmsteads ever existed at some locations.[12][13][184] NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 20 1912 United States Oklahoma Kingfisher County 2 April 20–22, 1912 tornado outbreak - Entire farms were swept away. Listed as an F5 by the NCDC Technical Memorandum.[9][12][185] NCDC
Apr 27 1912 United States Oklahoma Kiowa County, Canadian County 15 This tornado is only listed as an F5 by the NCDC Technical Memorandum, and is not listed at all by Grazulis or any other sources, and is therefore a possible typographical error in the memorandum.[12] NCDC
Jun 15 1912 United States Missouri Creighton 5 Two large homes were completely swept away.[13][186] Grazulis
Mar 23 1913 United States Nebraska Omaha 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.[13][187] Grazulis
Jun 11 1915 United States Kansas Kiowa County 0 One entire farm was swept completely away.[12][13][188] NCDC, Grazulis
May 25 1917 United States Kansas Andale, Sedgwick 23 May–June 1917 tornado outbreak sequence – Many structures were swept away, and trees were debarked.[189] The F5 rating is widely accepted.[9][12][13][190] NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 5 1917 United States Kansas Kiro, Elmont 9 The tornado hit only 8 mi (13 km) northwest of downtown Topeka. Homes were swept away. Rated F4 by Grazulis but listed as an F5 in the NCDC memorandum.[191] In the damaged area, homes and farms were swept completely away. A schoolhouse was reduced to an empty stone foundation.[191] Trees were debarked, and heavy farm machinery was carried for miles.[12][191] NCDC
May 21 1918 United States Iowa Crawford County, Greene County 6 At least two farms were swept away, and house foundations were left bare. Mattresses from the homes were transported 2 mi (3.2 km).[12][13][192][152] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
May 21 1918 United States Iowa Boone County, Story County 9 A large tornado completely swept away two entire farms. Mentioned as a possible F5 by Grazulis.[192] Grazulis
Jun 22 1919 United States Minnesota Fergus Falls 59 1919 Fergus Falls tornado – This tornado produced extreme damage in Fergus Falls.[193] A three-block-wide swath was leveled, with some homes swept away.[12][13][194] Several summer homes were swept away into Lake Alice.[195] A train station was swept away,[195] railroad tracks were ripped from the ground,[193] and a large three-story hotel was completely leveled.[195] Numerous small trees were completely debarked.[193] NCDC, Grazulis
Mar 28 1920 United States Indiana,
Ohio
Jackson Township, West Liberty, Van Wert 17 1920 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak – Farms were leveled and swept away in Indiana and Ohio.[196] Some homes had their floors dislodged and moved some distance.[197] Mentioned as a possible F5 by Grazulis.[196][198] NWS, Grazulis
Apr 20 1920 United States Mississippi, Alabama Clay County, Marion County, Lawrence County 88[9] April 1920 tornado outbreak – This large, long-tracked tornado struck the same areas as the EF5 tornado in 2011, passing near Hackleburg and Phil Campbell, Alabama.[13][199] Many homes were swept away and entire forests were leveled as the tornado tracked for 130 mi (210 km).[200] Large boulders were picked up and thrown, and part of one was found 11 mi (18 km) away from where it originated. Vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards.[200] May have gained F5 strength; however, this is uncertain. Grazulis
Jul 22 1920 Canada Saskatchewan Frobisher, Alameda 4 "Splendid homes" were swept away and "reduced to splinters."[13][201] Grazulis
Apr 15 1921 United States Texas,
Arkansas
Harrison County, Pike County, Hempstead County 62 This tornado family tracked for 112 mi (180 km), killing at least 59 people,[202] and reached a peak width of 1.1 mi (1.8 km).[203] Many homes were leveled, some of which were swept away and scattered across fields. A large concrete fireplace was shifted 3 ft (1.0 yd), and a vehicle was thrown 200 yd (600 ft) and partially buried into the soil.[203] Tornado is not listed as an F5 by Grazulis but is listed on the NCDC memorandum.[12] NCDC
Mar 11 1923 United States Tennessee Pinson 20 An entire section of the town was swept away.[12][13][204] Bodies or body parts were found up to 1 mi (1.6 km) away.[204] This is the first of only two F5s to hit Tennessee, the other having struck Lawrence County on April 16, 1998.[12][51] NCDC, Grazulis
May 14 1923 United States Texas Big Spring 23 A large ranch home and farms were swept away.[13][205] Grazulis
Jun 24 1923 United States North Dakota Hettinger 8 Some ranch homes had possible F5 damage.[206] Grazulis
Sep 21 1924 United States Wisconsin Clark County, Taylor County 18 20 farms were destroyed, some of which were obliterated. An entire wall of a home was carried for 14 mi (23 km). Considered to be a probable F5 by Grazulis.[13][207] Grazulis
Mar 18 1925 United States Missouri,
Illinois,
Indiana
Ellington, Annapolis, Biehle, Gorham, Murphysboro, De Soto, West Frankfort, Parrish, Griffin, Owensville, Princeton 695 Tri-State Tornado – This was the deadliest and longest-tracked single tornado in U.S. history, producing the highest tornado-related death toll in a single U.S. city (234, at Murphysboro, Illinois) and the largest such toll in a U.S. school (33, at Desoto, Illinois).[208] Thousands of structures were destroyed, with hundreds of homes swept away along the path, especially in Illinois and Indiana. The towns of Murphysboro, West Frankfort, Gorham, and Griffin were devastated, along with numerous other small towns and communities.[209] Gorham and Griffin were destroyed entirely, with every single structure in Gorham leveled or swept away.[208][210] Trees were debarked, debris was finely granulated, and deep ground scouring was noted in several areas as well.[210][211] A Model T Ford was thrown a long distance and stripped, railroad tracks were ripped from the ground at multiple locations along the path, and a large multi-ton coal tipple was blown over and rolled.[210][211] The F5 rating is widely accepted.[12][13][212][20][213][214] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 3 1925 United States Iowa Pottawattamie County, Harrison County 0 19 buildings on two farms reportedly "vanished". This tornado took nearly the same path as the next one, below. It is described as a "possible" F5.[215] Grazulis
Jun 3 1925 United States Iowa Pottawattamie County, Harrison County 1 Parts of two farms and some homes swept away, but they may have been hit by both tornadoes, thus the uncertainty of a possible F5.[13][215] Grazulis
Apr 12 1927 United States Texas Rocksprings 74 This massive tornado swept away or leveled 235 out of 247 structures, more than 90% of the town, killing or injuring a third of the population. Many of the structures were reduced to bare foundations, leaving "no trace of lumber or contents." Acres of ground were "swept bare" in some parts of town.[216][13][217][41] NWS, Grazulis
May 7 1927 United States Kansas Barber County, McPherson County 10 Many farms were destroyed and some were swept completely away.[218] The F5 rating is widely accepted.[12][13] NCDC, Grazulis
Sep 13 1928 United States Nebraska Cuming County, Thurston County, Dakota County 5 Three rural schools houses were completely obliterated, at least one was "swept entirely away".[219][220] Possible F5 damage, according to Grazulis, was in an area where two farms "were completely leveled".[219] 66 homes and at least another 450 buildings were damaged or destroyed. The tornado caused $1 million in damages.[220][13][219] Grazulis
Apr 10 1929 United States Arkansas Sneed 23 This tornado is considered the only F5 on record in Arkansas.[221] It destroyed the Sneed community,[222] reduced homes to "splinters", and made a "clean sweep" of the area. Huge trees were snapped or torn apart.[13][223][224] NWS, Grazulis
May 22 1933 United States Nebraska Tryon 8 Two farms were swept away.[12][13][225] NCDC, Grazulis
Jul 1 1935 Canada Saskatchewan Benson 1 Several structures were leveled.[13] Grazulis
Apr 5 1936 United States Mississippi Tupelo 216 Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak – This tornado leveled and swept away many large and well-constructed houses, killing entire families.[13][226] A concrete war monument was toppled and broken, with nearby brick gate posts snapped off at the base. Granulated structural debris was scattered and wind-rowed for miles east of the city. Pine needles were reportedly driven into tree trunks as well.[227][228][229][230] NWS, Grazulis
Apr 26 1938 United States Nebraska Oshkosh 3 A school disintegrated, and two farms were swept away. Dead bodies were carried .25 mi (0.40 km) away.[12][13][231] NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 10 1938 United States Texas Clyde 14 All nine homes in a small subdivision "literally vanished", with bodies carried up to .50 mi (0.80 km) away. A car engine, found nearby, was carried for a similar distance.[232] 19 railroad cars were "tossed like toys."[13][232] Grazulis
Apr 14 1939 United States Oklahoma,
Kansas
Woodward County, Barber County 7 Homes and entire farms were swept away, and cars were carried for hundreds of yards.[12][13][233] NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 18 1939 United States Minnesota Hennepin County, Anoka County 9 Homes were swept away in Champlin and Anoka.[13][234] 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.[235][236] Tornado is not listed as an F5 by Grazulis, but appears on the NCDC memorandum.[12] NCDC
Apr 7 1940 United States Louisiana Amite 3 This tornado produced possible F5 damage to a "large new home," killing the couple inside.[237][182] Grazulis
Mar 16 1942 United States Illinois Peoria County, Marshall County 8 March 1942 tornado outbreak – Many homes were swept away in the town of Lacon, Illinois, and a rural farmhouse sustained F5-level damage.[12][13][238][239][149] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 29 1942 United States Kansas Oberlin 15 Three farms were obliterated, with all buildings and several inches of topsoil swept away.[240] Debris from homes was granulated into splinters "no larger than match sticks."[12][13][241] NCDC, Grazulis
Jun 17 1944 United States South Dakota,
Minnesota
Wilmot 8 Farms were swept away with no visible debris left.[13][242] Grazulis
Jun 22 1944 United States Wisconsin,
Illinois
Grant County, Stephenson County 9 This long-tracked tornado or tornado family destroyed many homes in both Wisconsin and Illinois. Hundreds of cattle were killed. Rated F4 by Grazulis.[9][12] NCDC
Apr 12 1945 United States Oklahoma Antlers 69 600 buildings were destroyed, and some areas were swept clean of all debris. The F5 rating is widely accepted.[12][13][243] NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 9 1947 United States Texas,
Oklahoma,
Kansas
Glazier, Higgins, Woodward 181 1947 Glazier-Higgins-Woodward tornadoes – Several towns were partially or totally destroyed. Most structures in Glazier were swept away, where shrubbery was debarked, ground scouring occurred, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards. In Higgins, a 4½ ton lathe was ripped from its anchors and broken in half.[244][245] A 20-ton boiler tank in Woodward was thrown a block and a half. The F5 rating is widely accepted.[9][12][13][246][128][21][247] NWS, NCDC, Grazulis
Apr 29 1947 United States Missouri Worth 14 Most of Worth was destroyed. Half of a brick building remained standing in the village. Considered to be a possible F5 by Grazulis.[9] Grazulis
May 31 1947 United States Oklahoma Leedey 6 This tornado reportedly left more intense damage than the previous event did in Woodward.[248] Many structures were swept away, leaving no debris or grass in some areas. Yards at some residences were stripped of their lawns and all vegetation, and several inches of topsoil were removed as well. The F5 rating is widely accepted, though the tornado was very slow-moving, which may have exacerbated the level of destruction to some extent.[13][248][249] Grazulis
May 21 1949 United States Illinois,
Indiana
Palestine 4 A restaurant was leveled, and cars in the parking lot were thrown up to 300 yd (900 ft) away from where they originated. Rated F4 by Grazulis.[9][12] NCDC
Jan 1 1970 Australia New South Wales Bulahdelah 0 Bulahdelah tornado. Never officially rated, but is thought to have reached F4 or F5 intensity. Left a damage path 21 kilometres (13 mi) long and 1–1.6 kilometres (0.62–0.99 mi) wide through the Bulahdelah State Forest. According to reports, the tornado threw a tractor weighing 2 tonnes (4,400 lb) 100 metres (328 ft) through the air, depositing it upside-down. It is estimated that the tornado destroyed over one million trees.[250][251][252] Pending
Jan 10 1973 Argentina Santa Fe Province San Justo 54 San Justo tornado. Never officially rated, but is widely considered to have been an F5.[253] Masonry homes reportedly vanished with little or no trace, and vehicles were thrown hundreds of meters from where they originated and mangled beyond recognition. Large factories were completely leveled and grass was scoured from the ground. A vehicle motor was found embedded into a poured concrete wall, and a tractor was thrown 500 metres (1,600 ft) into a wooded area.[254][255] Pending

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The winds estimated by the Fujita Scale are estimated values and have not been verified scientifically.[3]

References[edit]

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Canadian sources[edit]