January 6, 2011

The F6 Tornado that never was.

For the first time ever Scientists measure the fastest wind speed ever recorded, 318 MPH, in a tornado that hit the suburbs of Oklahoma City on May 3rd, 1999.

Courtesy of GR Level X

Courtesy of USA Today

On May 3rd, 1999 a super cell thunderstorm spawned a massive tornado that struck near Chickasha, a suburb of Oklahoma City. The storm system tore through Bridge Creek, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Moore, Del City, Tinker Air Force Base and Midwest City, Oklahoma, causing $1.1 billion in damage. Over 8,000 homes were destroyed, and it may have been the most costly tornado cleanup in history. Along with the extensive property damage, thirty-six people also lost their lives to the storm.

While the storm was winding down its destructive path, the tornado passed close to a Doppler on Wheels truck, which measured its wind speeds. It was estimated that the tornadoes wind speed may have exceeded the 318 MPH easily surpassing the older record set by the 1993 F5 twister with wind speeds between 257 and 268 MPH, making the strongest tornado on record.

There was much speculation as to whether or not this tornado should have been classified as a F6 tornado instead of an F5. Many argued that because the estimated winds speed had a variable of 10 MPH +/- that it should have been classified as the first ever F6 tornado. Weather experts argued back that the classification in the Fujita Scale was not entirely based upon wind speeds but based on damage and destruction. The tornado was never classified as an F6 but the Fujita scale has since been retired in the U.S.A. and replaced with the Enhanced Fujita scale which sets less wind speed parameters.

P.F.S.There isn't a Category 6 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, but if there was, an F5/EF5/F6/EF6 tornado would essentially equal a Category 6, with winds well over 250 mph.

Enhanced Fujita Scale Wiki

xoxo disaster girl

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