The enhanced Fujita scale: For use beyond tornadoes?

J. Arn Womble, Douglas A. Smith, Kishor C. Mehta, James R. McDonald

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale was developed specifically for the estimation of wind speeds based on damage caused by tornado winds. Recently, the question has arisen as to whether or not the EF Scale can be reliably used in reverse to predict the amount of wind damage based on measured or estimated hurricane wind speeds, particularly when wind action is co-mingled with severe storm-surge action and evidence of the exact level of wind damage is obliterated. In considering such use of the EF Scale, we examine separately its two major components: (1) Degrees of Damage and (2) ranges of tornado wind speeds associated with these damage levels. Our experience suggests that, in general, the EF Scale properly describes the overall progression of damage with increasing wind speeds in both tornadoes and hurricanes; however, the wind speeds associated with various degrees of damage are generally expected to be different for structures exposed to hurricanes and tornadoes. Use of the EF Scale to predict hurricane damage based on peak wind speeds is therefore discouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForensic Engineering 2009
Subtitle of host publicationPathology of the Built Environment - Proceedings of the 5th Congress on Forensic Engineering
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2010
Event5th Congress on Forensic Engineering - Washington, DC, United States
Duration: Nov 11 2009Nov 14 2009

Publication series

NameForensic Engineering, Proceedings of the Congress


Conference5th Congress on Forensic Engineering
CountryUnited States
CityWashington, DC

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  • Cite this

    Womble, J. A., Smith, D. A., Mehta, K. C., & McDonald, J. R. (2010). The enhanced Fujita scale: For use beyond tornadoes? In Forensic Engineering 2009: Pathology of the Built Environment - Proceedings of the 5th Congress on Forensic Engineering (pp. 699-708). (Forensic Engineering, Proceedings of the Congress).