The violent tornado that hit Joplin has been upgraded to an EF-5 — the strongest tornado possible on the Enhanced Fujita scale. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there have only been 57 F-5 or EF-5 tornadoes since the scale was introduced in 1950. The devastating tornado that hit Joplin Sunday evening is one of them, and it is the most deadly.
Bill Davis is the lead surveyer for NOAA in Joplin. He says ititially, his team ranked the storm as an EF-4 (when it hit St. John’s Hospital), but Davis says his team took into account several well-built buildings of steel and concrete that were demolished further down the path, and became more indicative of an EF-5.
“Very large and well constructed towers were toppled, and that’s kind of what brought us up greater 200 miles per hour and plus just the other devastation,” he says. “Plus about everything within a three quarter mile path, and six, six and half mile length.”
He stresses that upgrading the category ranking of the tornado isn’t the only reason for their studies.
“One of the most important aspects is we see how we can do better to improve our services and improve our technology,” he says. “I think with this one we had 24 minutes warning, but obviously, as with anything, we’d like to have more time.”