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Fujita scale and Rockaway

May 21, 2013 - Rob Weaver
Here's a bit of tornado trivia I learned today.

You already may know the Fujita Scale rates the intensity of tornadoes from F0 — the weakest — to F5, the strongest. The scale was introduced by Tetsuya Theodore "Ted" Fujita in 1971, and has since been amended, yielding the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The tornado that swept through Seneca County Nov. 10, 2002, was rated an F3. It stayed on the ground for 21 miles, causing heavy damage in the Honey Creek subdivision, where six homes were destroyed. One person was killed near Republic when another home was hit. Across Seneca County, 32 homes and businesses were destroyed and nearly 80 others damaged by the tornado.

The twister that killed four people and destroyed four homes in the hamlet of Rockaway, on SR 67 near US 224, on Palm Sunday, 1965, also later was rated an F3. Remember, the scale was not in use at the time.

But Ted Fujita did make a discovery that holiday weekend. A prevailing theory as to why a tornado sometimes would level one house and leave another across the street standing reasoned the tornado literally would leapfrog over some structures. During the Palm Sunday outbreak, Fujita figured out most destruction is caused by what are called “suction vortices” — powerful mini-twisters within the main funnel.

As if a half-mile-wide tornado can't cause enough damage all by itself. ...


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