Weather Eye: No twisters here, just ‘ho-hum, on-again, off-again rain showers’

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photoPatrick Timm

There isn’t a whole lot to write home about locally weatherwise, but some of you might have received writings from relatives’ homes back East about the weather.

I have received several emails with pictures and comments from local residents who have communicated with loved ones. The pictures continue to amaze me.

I saw some pictures of an electrical substation where the tornado twisted steel structures and uplifted electrical equipment off concrete pads.

The latest decision is that the tornado in Joplin, Mo., was an EF5 tornado, the top of the ratings.

In the movie “Twister,” there is a scene in which stormchasers are at Aunt Meg’s house taking a break from their adventures. They are sitting around the kitchen table, eating a hefty share of Southern cooking, while having a discussion about the strengths of tornadoes. Melissa Reeves asks if there is an F5 tornado, and if anyone has ever seen one.

An F5-classified tornado is the largest tornado possible and is extremely rare. Scientists used the Fujita scale — from F0 to F5 — to measure the size and intensity of the storm based upon post-storm damage assessment.

Back to the film: One of the stormchasers nods and acknowledges her question. She then continues, “How would you describe it?” There is a long pause and a hallowed look upon the faces of the stormchasers before the reply, “The Finger of God.”

I know the film is full of Hollywood special effects and scenes of colossal damage, but looking at the actual devastation in Missouri, one could hardly tell the difference.

Let me spend a moment on the new Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale. The latest ratings are now designated as:

• EF0: Wind speeds of 65 to 85 mph.

• EF1: Wind speeds of 86 to 110 mph.

• EF2: Wind speeds of 111 to 135 mph.

• EF3: Wind speeds of 136 to 165 mph.

• EF4: Wind speeds of 166 to 200 mph.

• EF5: Wind speeds greater than 200 mph.

The Hazel Dell tornado in January 2008 was rated an EF1. The Vancouver tornado in April 1972 was rated under the old classifications as an F3.

Enjoy our ho-hum, on-again, off-again rain showers the next few days, and I will see you on what I hope will be a partly sunny Sunday!

Pat Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at http://weathersystems.com.