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Weekly Weather Event -Week of October 21st

October 21, 2019

On October 20th, a major storm system moved through portions of the southeastern United States and spawned nine tornadoes across North Texas. One of these tornados barreled through the Dallas-Fort Worth area, carving a path approximately fifteen miles long with winds up to 140 mph. The tornado was classified as an EF3, and while there were no deaths reported in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, damage estimates currently sit at around $2 billion.

Tornadoes are classified in the United States by the Enhanced Fujita Scale, a system that was initially developed by Tetsuya Theodore “Ted” Fujita and Allen Peterson and is known as the Fujita Scale. Using this method, tornadoes are classified from 0 to 5 on a basis of windspeed and damage. In 2007, the United States adopted the Enhanced Fujita Scale which better considers the impacts of wind speed on damage, adds more damage categories, and better accounts for variables in construction quality.

Unlike other storms, tornado wind speeds are more difficult to directly measure. As such, wind speeds are often estimated based on damage indicators. The National Weather Service has several different categories for measuring tornado destruction, including impacts on vegetation, buildings, cars, and other structures in both urban and rural environments.