The difference between an F5 tornado and EF5 tornado is merely a matter of more accurate measurements.  In 2007 the newer scale was put into use to categorize tornado damage. The EF (Enhanced Fujita) is basically the same design as the original Fujita scale, but does a more accurate job in scrutinizing degrees of damage that are more precisely aligned with wind speeds. These speeds were adjusted with more definitive damage descriptions and used to better differentiate an EF4 from an EF5 tornado. These two tornadoes are the most intense storms and are incredibly violent. The EF4 and EF5 produce enormous amounts of damage to homes, businesses, landscapes and life. Whether you are hit by an EF0 or an EF5, to adequately protect yourself, your family or employees from tornadoes, residents in tornado prone areas should have an NSSA approved storm shelter with a triple-locking steel door system that has six locking points and is securely anchored in their home or on their property.

Tornado classifications are rated in a graduated scale from EF0 to EF5 with the EF5 being the strongest and most damaging.

The lower end of the Fujita scale EF0 starts off relatively weak wind speeds at 65-85 mph climbing to EF1 at 86-110 mph with damage increasing tremendously. At EF0 to EF1 intensities, taking shelter in a concrete basement is still an option; however, the risk of the home collapsing and falling in on the basement are high. In an EF1, damage to temporary structures and mobile homes is significant with vehicles being pushed off the road or overturned. Major damage occurs to the roofs of permanent structures with an EF1.

ef5 tornado damage photo

EF2 tornadoes are still at the lower end of the Fujita scale measuring wind strengths of 111-135 mph. These tornadoes are stronger, although smaller in area and shorter lived than cyclones of the tropics. During an EF-2, exterior wall loss can be expected in poorly built structures. Mobile homes can be totally destroyed. Even very well-built structures are at serious risk of losing their roofs. Trees can snap or become uprooted. Vehicles can be lifted from the ground. The worst threat during an EF2 is that small insignificant yard objects can be tossed into the air and become missiles.

An EF3 tornado brings about 136-165 mph winds and a significant threat to structures and life. Little may remain of a structure that has been hit. The integrity of well-built structures may suffer because of the loss of outer and inner walls. Total collapse may occur when unanchored or poorly anchored buildings are affected. Small/light vehicles and similarly weighted objects can be uplifted and become projectiles. Tree de-barking and total loss of vegetation is possible. An EF3 is the maximum level of tornado strength that may allow for effective safety in a first-floor interior room or closet within the center of a house.

With winds of 166-200 mph, the EF4 classification represents total loss of a compromised structure. Homes with little or no anchoring will be completely obliterated. Even well-engineered homes can be reduced to medium sized splinters protruding from concrete foundations.  The sturdiest homes can come apart, brick by brick, reducing the effort of taking shelter in a first floor interior closet or room, ineffective for survival. Large trees and vegetation are either completely destroyed or turned into projectiles.  Ground scouring typically occurs leaving little vegetation or topsoil. Cars and other vehicles plus comparable weighted objects become projectiles. Large weighty vehicles such as dump trucks, tankers, trains, and even airplanes can be flipped or spun repeatedly. At this point the best place to be is in a Survive-A-Storm storm shelter, either above or below ground, depending upon whichever best meets the individual’s needs.

Finally, the highest rated on the Fujita scale, the EF5 tornado is the most powerful tornado, packing winds of 200 mph or higher. It is the worst tornado mankind has ever experienced on earth. Total loss and extreme destruction always occurs. The best built and most robust homes are no match against an EF5. These tornadoes can pull off and lift an entire house from its foundation then rip it apart piece by piece leaving the foundation clean. The resulting debris is virtually unrecognizable. Large heavy metal machinery is mangled beyond identification then dropped miles away. Pine needles have been seen penetrating tree trunks and structures. Wooden church pews have been driven into the ground. Steel I-Beams have been carried as far as 2 miles away. Skyscrapers have been twisted with this whirling forceful wind tunnel, entire towns have been completely wiped out and asphalt has been lifted from roadways. Train tracks have been ripped from the ground while freight cars have been lifted and thrown great distances. EF5 tornadoes have devoured landscapes, shredded low lying vegetation and have left cyclonical ground scouring plus swept away miles of topsoil.

The bottom line is that, in order to survive an EF5 tornado, you need to be in a FEMA 320 compliant storm shelter with an NSSA-approved, steel, 6-point locking door mechanism. You can depend on Survive-A-Storm storm shelters to deliver the safest storm shelter and a competent storm shelter expert who will match you up with an above ground or below ground storm shelter, whichever most closely fits your needs. Call us today at 1-888-360-1942 or visit our website at

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