Today, the National Weather Service listed a third tornado from April 27th as an EF-5, the highest category in rating tornadoes. The list now includes tornadoes that hit Smithsville, MS, Hackleburg, AL to Huntland, TN and Philadelphia, MS. These three together mark the most EF-5 tornadoes from one storm system since the Super Outbreak of 1974.
In that outbreak, 6 F-5 tornadoes were reported by the National Weather Service. Surveys continue on the tornadoes that hit the south on April 27th, and it’s possible more twisters could earn a final rating of EF-5.
If three sounds like a lot, it is. At one point, the US went 8 years (1999-2007) without a single F-5 or EF-5 tornado. A quick note, F-5’s and EF-5’s are considered the same. The different titles come a refined scale used by the National Weather Service. The old Fujita Scale was replaced by the new Enhanced Fujita Scale.
Although rare, multiple EF-5 tornado outbreaks are not unheard of. In fact Iowa has seen two F-5 from the same storm system. It happened back in 1968 when two F-5 tornadoes hit the communities of Charles City and Oelwein.
If you would like to see the frequency of F-5 and EF-5 tornadoes, take a look at the graphic which shows the location of every F-5 or EF-5 tornadoes in history.