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Central Alabama 7 Day Forecast

Enterprise Tornado Now Rated EF4

| 8:32 pm March 21, 2007 | Comments (16)

I figured this would happen at some point… both Brian Peters and I believed the Enterprise tornado to be an EF4, and now the NWS is on the bandwagon… this is the updated statement from NWS Tallahassee:

…TORNADO NUMBER 1…COFFEE COUNTY ALABAMA…ENTERPRISE…
THIS TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN AT 108 PM CST JUST SOUTHWEST OF
ENTERPRISE. THE TORNADO TRACKED THROUGH ENTERPRISE HITTING THE HIGH
SCHOOL AROUND 112 PM CST. THE TORNADO MOVED OUT OF THE TOWN OF
ENTERPRISE AND LIFTED BEFORE REACHING DALE COUNTY AT 118 PM CST. THE
APPROXIMATE PATH LENGTH OF THIS TORNADO WAS 7 MILES WITH A MAXIMUM
DAMAGE WIDTH OF 300 YARDS. THE FINAL RATING ASSIGNED TO THIS TORNADO
IS AN EF-4 WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OF 170 MPH. THE EF-4 DAMAGED AREAS ARE
RIGHT AROUND THE HIGH SCHOOL AND SEVERAL HOMES ON DIXIE ROAD TO THE
NORTHEAST OF BOLL WEEVIL CIRCLE. AN EF-4 TORNADO HAS WINDS OF 166 TO
200 MPH. 9 FATALITIES WERE REPORTED IN ENTERPRISE WITH 8 OF THESE
OCCURRING AT THE HIGH SCHOOL.

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  1. Mike Wilhelm says:

    James…Thanks for the info…based on what I’ve seen, I am not surprised.

  2. Fred Gossage says:

    This is the first time since 1994….and one in a total of only 8 times in “Alabama tornado history”, that goes back to the late 1880s….that more than one F4 tornado touched down in the state of Alabama on the same day.

    3/1/2007, 3/27/1994, 4/3/1974, 5/1/1953, 3/21/1932, 4/20/20, 4/24/1908, and 2/19/1884

  3. Rob says:

    I don’t understand why we changed to an EF system. Seems to me some everyone can now say we have more storms rated EF5. The old system rated an F5 at 260 mph winds and higher and not many were rated an F5 now that to obtain that status winds speed can be much slower. Or am I missing something?

  4. If this tornado was upgraded to EF-4 (which I agree with; I stated on Talkweather weeks ago my opinion (based on many years of wind damage research) the Enterprise tornado was of low-end EF-4 intensity), then the SW Georgia monster which struck Americus should be as well. I saw both damage scenes up-close (took pics of the Webster county Georgia tornado aftermath which I emailed to James), and the Georgia tornado was clearly more intense…..with trees debarked and pavement scoured from a highway in Webster county (15 miles WSW of Americus).

  5. Fred Gossage says:

    The tornadoes are never rated BY the wind speeds….. but are rather rated by the damage caused….even on the new scale. The Enhanced Fujita Scale only offers a greater number, and more detailed, damage indicators…..and rethinks the winds that could *possibly* cause the damage associated with the upper-level ratings.

  6. Cal says:

    Just FYI- I believe the NWS also upgraded the Miller’s Ferry tornado to an EF-4.

  7. John Talbot says:

    Figured it all along . No surprise from here .

  8. Fred Gossage says:

    Yes…according to that upgrade, it has been rated as a mid/upper EF4.

  9. Rob, the rating hasn’t changed….only the wind speed estimate (and I was told this by a friend who’s also a veteran NWS senior forecaster). If the Enterprise tornado had occurred last year or before, it would have likely been rated “low end” F4…with estimated winds of 210 mph. Apparently, structural engineers and research meteorologists have discovered that it doesn’t take quite as intense tornado winds to cause severe or devastating damage to well built structures as when Dr Fujita (and Dr Allen Pearson of NSSFC) created the Fujita scale in the early 1970’s.

    If NWS/NOAA had possessed the same research/ info in April of 1998 (and EF-scale had been in place), I’m certain the Oak Grove/ Jefferson county tornado disaster would have still been rated as EF-5….but probably with lower wind speed estimates (200-225 mph IMO instead of 261+.

    Just my 0.02 cents worth…

  10. John Talbot says:

    But actually it is . The wind is what causes the damage to begin with . Kind of like the insurance companies saying damage in homes from hurricanes is flooding , which in reality is an effect caused by wind blowing it in . Same point here I believe .

    I dont know, I am not the fondest of the newer scale . From what I understood the old F scale was more related to the wind , which of course the wind again is what causes the damage . Just IMO .

  11. Kevin Selle says:

    Rob, and anyone else interested. We have an interesting segment on the change from the “F” to the “EF” scale in a recent WeatherBrains program. http://weatherbrains.com/weatherbrains/?cat=1

  12. CrazyC83 says:

    The three EF4’s of the outbreak match the total number of violent tornadoes for 2005 AND 2006…they were on 11/15/05 in KY, 03/12/06 in MO and 09/22/06 also in MO.

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