Tornadoes are rated by their intensity and the damaged they cause to vegetation and human created structures. The Fujita scale (F-Scale), also known as the Fujita-Pearson scale, is a tornado scale that was introduced in 1971 by Tetsuya Fujita. In the United States the Fujita scale was replaced with the Enhanced Fujita scale (EF-Scale), which is now the primary scale used the United Sites and Canada. The original Fujita scale was decommissioned in 2007.

Choose a Tornado Scale

Fujita Tornado Scale Wind Chart Enhanced Fujita Tornado Scale Wind Chart

The Fujita Tornado Scale

The Fujita tornado scale was created by Tetsuya Fujita and in 1971 in collaboration with Allen Pearson. This method is a sliding scale 0 to 5 with 5 being the most violent. For example, the Tri-State Tornado was an F5 tornado, which was one of the most violent and deadliest tornadoes in history. Below is a brief description of each type of tornado on the Fujita scale.

F0 Tornado

F1 Tornado

F2 Tornado

F3 Tornado

F4 Tornado

F5 Tornado

Fujita Scale Tornado Comparison

The Enhanced Fujita Tornado Scale

The enhanced Fujita tornado scale was created by Fujita Scale Enhancement Project between 2000 and 2004. The enhanced Fujita scale still uses the same basic principles as the original Fujita scale. There are six categories of tornadoes, 0 to 5. Wind speeds were revised and it also adds more type of structures and vegetation, expands degrees of damage, and better accounts for variables such as differences in construction quality. Below is a brief description of each type of tornado on the Fujita scale.

EF0 Tornado

EF1 Tornado

EF2 Tornado

EF3 Tornado

EF4 Tornado

EF5 Tornado

In addition to classification by wind speed there are also 28 damage indicators (DI), or types of structures and vegetation, each with a varying number of degrees of damage (DoD).

DI No.
DI Abbv.
Damage Indicator (DI)
Degrees of Damage (DoD)
1 SBO Small barns, farm outbuildings 8
2 FR12 One- or two-family residences 10
3 MHSW Single-wide mobile home (MHSW) 9
4 MHDW Double-wide mobile home 12
5 ACT Apt, condo, townhouse (3 stories or less) 6
6 M Motel 10
7 MAM Masonry apt. or motel 7
8 SRB Small retail bldg. (fast food) 8
9 SPB Small professional (doctor office, branch bank) 9
10 SM Strip mall 9
11 LSM Large shopping mall 9
12 LIRB Large, isolated ("big box"") retail bldg." 7
13 ASR Automobile showroom 8
14 ASB Automotive service building 8
15 ES School - 1-story elementary (interior or exterior halls) 10
16 JHSH School - jr. or sr. high school 11
17 LRB Low-rise (1-4 story) bldg. 7
18 MRB Mid-rise (5-20 story) bldg. 10
19 HRB High-rise (over 20 stories) 10
20 IB Institutional bldg. (hospital, govt. or university) 11
21 MBS Metal building system 8
22 SSC Service station canopy 6
23 WHB Warehouse (tilt-up walls or heavy timber) 7
24 TLT Transmission line tower 6
25 FST Free-standing tower 3
26 FSP Free standing pole (light, flag, luminary) 3
27 TH Tree - hardwood 5
28 TS Tree - softwood 5

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