What is the tornado rating scale?

Tornadoes can range in intensity, and are rated using six damage categories.

Wind speeds are measured on the Enhanced Fujita scale, implemented in February 2007, according to the National Weather Service.


  • Estimated wind speeds: 65 to 85 mph
  • Observations: Minor damage. Winds will pull siding or gutters off homes, broken tree branches and shallow-rooted trees pushed over.


  • Estimated wind speeds: 86 to 110 mph
  • Observations: Moderate damage. Roofs stripped of shingles. Mobile homes overturned or damaged. Broken glass to windows or other glass.


  • Estimated wind speeds: 111 to 135
  • Observations: Considerable damage. Roofs torn off well-constructed homes. Mobile homes completely destroyed. Large trees snapped or uprooted. Cars lifted off ground.


  • Estimated wind speeds: 136 to 165 mph
  • Observations: Severe damage. Well-constructed homes destroyed. Severe damage to large buildings like shopping malls. Heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown. Trains overturned.


  • Estimated wind speeds: 166 to 200 mph
  • Observations: Devastating damage. Whole frames of well-constructed homes completely leveled. Cars thrown and small missiles generated


  • Estimated wind speeds: Over 200 mph
  • Observations: Incredible damage. Strong frame houses leveled off foundations and swept away. Car-sized missiles fly through the air over 100 yards. High-rise buildings have significant deformation.

About the Author