Scientists Have Been Underestimating The Power Of Tornadoes

The U.S. National Weather Service rates a twister’s intensity by assessing the damage it leaves in wake, underrating the power of tornadoes.

The U.S. National Weather Service rates a twister’s intensity by assessing the damage it leaves in its wake. But this methodology may be underrating the power of tornadoes that move through open fields in rural areas,The Washington Post reports.

For a decade, researchers measured the wind speed of 82 tornadoes that hit the Great Plains and showed that most of them were stronger and wider than the damages indicated, with about 20% reaching the highest levels of the so-called Enhanced Fujita scale of tornado intensity.

The findings, reported this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will be used by a joint committee of the American Meteorological Society and the American Society of Civil Engineers to improve estimates of the destructive power of tornados.

Originally published at Science Magazine

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