Canadian Underwriter

Elie receives F5 intensity rating

September 30, 2007   by

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Elie, the tornado that ripped through parts of Manitoba on June 22, has been given a rating of F5 intensity, the highest on the Fujita tornado damage scale, — the first officially documented in Canada — according to Environment Canada meteorologists.

Damage indicators are used to measure the strength of tornadoes, with an F5 tornado accounting for roughly one-tenth of one per cent of all tornadoes in North America, a meteorologists’ release noted.

The storm had originally indicated evidence of F4 damage, but damage at two homes indicated a potential for F5 intensity. After further evaluation, — including video images — Environment Canada meteorologists at the Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Centre in Winnipeg confirmed evidence of F5 level damage.

Elie travelled just over five kilometers and was on the ground for 35 minutes, with wind speeds estimated to have reached between 420 and 510km/hr at its most intense.

“Canada ranks second in the world for tornado occurrences, experiencing an average of 80 to 100 tornadoes annually, compared to an average of 1,000 to 1,200 in the United States each year,” an Environment Canada meteorologists’ report notes. “The incidence of tornadoes in Canada is likely higher than that, but because Canada has large, unmonitored and sparsely populated areas, many more tornadoes may go unreported.”

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