Government revises how it categorizes tornadoes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Government revises how it categorizes tornadoes

ATLANTA (AP) - The government is revising its tornado ratings scale.

This after finding that it doesn't take 300 mile-per-hour winds to disintegrate homes and turn cars into missiles- that a 200 mile-per-hour twister can do just as much damage.

The National Weather Service say it has changed the Fujita Scale, a three-decade-old system of ranking a tornado's strength, to align wind speeds more closely with actual damage.

However, the new system will not fully go into effect until February 2007, giving weather experts time to adjust to it.

Under the new system, an F-Five tornado, considered the most powerful of tornadoes, has wind speeds of at least 200 miles-per-hour. Under the old system an F-5 tornado had estimated wind speeds of 261 to 318 miles-per-hour.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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