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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published September 04 2013

Weather Talk: El Reno, Okla., tornado reclassified as an EF3

Although the 2013 tornado season to this point has been one of the slowest in the past 60 years, there were two extremely powerful tornadoes that did form in Oklahoma this past May. The first occurred on May 20, striking the Moore, Okla., area, and the second on May 31 near El Reno, Okla.

The Moore tornado was ranked as an EF5 tornado, and initially the El Reno tornado was judged as an EF3. The El Reno tornado mainly affected rural areas, hitting very few structures, so it was more difficult to fully analyze. Therefore, only EF3 damage was discovered.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale is based on damage, not wind speed. But after data from a mobile Doppler radar measured wind at nearly 300 mph at 500 feet above the ground, the ranking was increased to EF5. Yet, because the EF scale is based on damage, not wind speed, the tornado was reclassified an EF3 last week to maintain a historical context in the ranking of tornadoes.

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