Among the most violent known meteorological events are tornadoes. Each year, more than 2,000 tornadoes occur worldwide, with the vast majority occurring in the United States and Europe. In order to assess the intensity of these events, meteorologist Ted Fujita devised a method to estimate maximum winds within the storm based on damage caused; this became known as the Fujita scale. At the top end of the scale, which ranks from 0 to 5, are F5 tornadoes. These storms were estimated to have had winds in excess of 261 mph (420 km/h). Following two particularly devastating tornadoes in 1997 and 1999, engineers questioned the reliability of the scale. Ultimately, a new scale was devised that took into account 28 different damage indicators; this became known as the Enhanced Fujita scale. With building designs taken more into account, winds in an EF5 tornado were estimated to be in excess of 200 mph (320 km/h).
In 2017 a rewrite of the Enhanced Fujita Scale took place which allowed for recorded wind non-conventional damage indicators to factor into a tornado's rating. Consequently, subsequent years saw an increase in the number of officially rated EF5 tornadoes. Prior to the rewrite, on average less than one F5 or EF5 tornado was recorded per year; due to more inclusive rating systems, the average following the Enhanced Fujita scale rewrite increased to around 2.5 EF5 tornadoes per year.
- Note to wiki users, events that occurred after 2007 but retain the original F0-F5 ratings and/or events that include EF6+ tornadoes will not be included on this list for consistency.
List of events
|May 25||2016||Chapman, Kansas||0||Upgraded from original EF4 rating on April 12, 2017. Railroad tracks were bent and twisted, and several vehicles were tossed hundreds of yards through the air and mangled beyond recognition.|
|April 13||2017||ESE of Delaplaine, AR to Union City, TN to NNW of Lafayette, KY||68||A four-story brick office building was completely leveled, and frame houses were swept cleanly away. Extensive ground scouring occurred over much of the tornado's path, and several cars were thrown up to 500 yards. This was the first tornado to have been rated EF5 after the revision that allowed more circumstances to factor in to a tornado's rating without dispute.|
|April 14||2017||Lake Santeelah, NC to ENE of Dandridge, TN||47||A very rare, wide EF5 tornado touched down in a mountainous area, striking Pigeon Forge killing more than 40 people. Seven more people were killed outside of Pigeon Forge.|
|April 22||2017||Pontiac, IL to E of Coal City, IL||29||Tornado tracked through multiple major cities in Illinois, including Coal City, though all fatalities attributed to this storm occurred in Pontiac.|
|May 23||2017||Mount Dora, FL||245||2017 Mount Dora tornado – Produced some of the most extreme damage ever documented. An entire subdivision of well-built homes was swept completely away with very little debris remaining, as well as many homes and several businesses within the town itself. Some of the homes were well-bolted to their foundations. Long expanses of pavement was torn from roads, and a large swath of ground was scoured out to a depth of 22 in (.56 m). Vehicles were torn apart and scattered across fields, and a orchid nursery was demolished as well. Tornado was very slow-moving, which may have exacerbated the destruction to some extent.|
|March 31||2019||Silver Creek, Mississippi||7||Listed as an EF5 on the National Weather Service Decadal Severe Weather Summary page. A cluster of mobile homes was completely destroyed, with debris finely granulated and wind-rowed well away from the site. Trees in the tornado's path were completely debarked and denuded as well.|
|April 1||2019||Blakely, Alabama||0||Officially rated EF4; rating disputed. Warehouses and a supermarket were completely leveled with debris swept cleanly off the foundations; trees were debarked and denuded and a pickup truck was thrown around 170 yards.|
|June 10||2021||Ashley-Fullerton-Clement, North Dakota||39|| See article on this tornado - Many homes were swept away, including nine that were well-built and bolted to their foundations. Transmission towers were crumpled and shredded, and several cars were thrown hundreds of
yards through the air.
|June 12||2021||Paris, Texas||8||Greatest damage to buildings was mid-range EF4. A 250-tonne industrial crane was blown over and rolled several times, and a pickup truck was thrown half a mile through the air. Trees were completely debarked and denuded, and widespread grass and pavement scouring occurred.|
|March 6||2022||Gretna, Florida||16||Listed as an EF5 on the Storm Prediction Center’s 2022 Severe Weather Summary page. Several houses were swept away, two of which were determined to have been bolted to their foundations. Nearby trees were completely debarked and denuded, and parked cars were thrown up to 200 yards.|
|March 21||2023||Dallas-Garland-Plano, Texas||216||See article on this tornado. Deadliest tornado in the United States since 2017; broke the record for the highest winds ever recorded in a tornado, at 317 miles per hour. Numerous homes were swept away, many of which were found to have been well-anchored to their foundations with nuts and washers. One house sustained total collapse of its poured concrete walk-out basement walls. A grocery store was entirely leveled with debris pushed off the foundation, and vehicles were thrown up to 900 yards through the air and mangled beyond recognition. Grass was scoured from lawns, and trees were completely debarked and denuded. Pronounced wind-roving of debris was noted, and debris from some homes was finely granulated.|
|May 8||2023||Enid, Oklahoma||0||Officially rated high-end EF4; rating disputed. A two-story stone mansion and numerous brick houses were entirely leveled with debris pushed off their foundations, and several farmhouses were swept away, with one sustaining collapse of one of its basement walls. Significant ground scouring occurred over much of the path as well. The lack of fatalities was attributed to the tornado's occurrence in the mid-morning, when most local residence had left their homes for work, coupled with the tornado's slow forward speed and high visibility.|
|May 28||2024||Marshall, Minnesota||46||Numerous well-anchored brick houses were swept away along the path, over a dozen of which were assessed to have sustained EF5 damage. One house had its step-up concrete porch torn away and shattered, while another had no visible debris left anywhere near the foundation. The main building of the Southwest Minnesota Regional Airport sustained severe damage, with several interior walls demolished and a portion in the middle partially collapsed. Several vehicles were thrown up to 400 yards and mangled beyond recognition, and a large irrigation system originating to the west of Marshall was tossed intermittently for 6 miles. Trees were completely debarked and denuded, and extensive ground scouring occurred along much of the path.|
|May 28||2024||Winona, Minnesota||17||Officially rated high-end EF4; rating disputed. A 230-tonne internet service tower was blown over and rolled several times, a passenger train car was bounced roughly 120 yards, and a large tugboat was flipped as the tornado reached the Mississippi River. Ground scouring up to 10 inches deep occurred, and an entire grove of trees was completely debarked. Meteorologist Greg Forbes assigned an EF5 rating.|
|May 29||2024||Auburn, Nebraska||10||Greatest structural damage was high-end EF4. Rated EF5 based on multiple instances of extreme unconventional damage indicators to the north of Auburn. Corn stalks were shredded, with the husks being peeled back from the ears in some cases, and decorative shrubs and hedges were ripped apart and debarked. Ground scouring up to 18 inches deep occurred in places, and a portion of a dirt road was scoured “from ditch to ditch”.|
|May 29||2024||Gladbrook, Iowa||0||Rated EF5 in initial surveys; rating was subsequently downgraded to EF4 by the National Weather Service office in Des Moines. Small brick houses were cleanly swept away with debris wind-rowed well away from the foundations, trees were completely debarked, and widespread ground scouring occurred.|
|May 29||2024||Blackburn/Slater, Missouri||18||Numerous homes, some of which were large, well-built, and anchor-bolted were swept away. At one house, most of the bolts themselves were snapped off. Debris from some obliterated homes was scattered and wind-rowed well away from the foundations, and a bathtub was found embedded deeply into the ground. Many vehicles were thrown up to 700 yards through the air and mangled beyond recognition, with a few stripped down to their frames. A 180-tonne radio mast was snapped in the middle and toppled with its upper half being thrown over 90 yards through the roof of a shopping mall, and a 100,000 gallon water storage tank was tossed 130 yards through the air. Trees were completely debarked and denuded, and a manhole cover was removed from the ground. Extensive ground and pavement scouring occurred as well.|
|May 30||2024||Liberal, Kansas||26||Greatest structural damage was high-end EF4. Pronounced ground scouring, 18 inches deep in places, occurred over rural areas, manhole covers were removed from the ground, and a portion of a water supply line was uprooted. Concrete power poles were snapped less than six inches above ground level and dragged along the ground for considerable distances and transmission towers were shredded. A railroad viaduct was demolished with its steel framework being crumpled and shredded, and I-beams being twisted and sheared off at their base in some cases. Additionally, trees were completely debarked and denuded, and extensive wind-rowing of debris occurred.|
|May 31||2024||Woodward, Oklahoma||30||Many large, well-built, and anchor-bolted brick homes were swept cleanly away with plumbing uprooted and destroyed. Debris was wind-rowed well away from the foundations, leaving prominent streaks through nearby fields. One house had its ground floor dislodged and swept away as well, and two of its basement walls collapsed. Debris from some homes was finely granulated. Nearby parked cars were thrown in excess of 0.75 miles (1.2 km) with several stripped down to their frames and one crumpled into a tight ball slightly over three feet across. At a construction site, a front-end loader was tossed 600 yards and stripped down to its fram, an excavator was tossed 450 yards with its body snapped off of the treads, and a steamroller was tossed 500 yards and crumpled into a tight ball. Additionally, trees were completely debarked and denuded, with several being reduced to small stubs, grass and crops were scoured from the ground along with several inches of soil, and significant pavement scouring occurred.|
|May 31||2024||Talihina/Red Oak, Oklahoma||2||Officially rated mid-range EF4. Winds were recorded at 261 miles per hour over rural areas. Farmhouses were swept away, and several reinforced wind turbines were destroyed. While EF5 winds were recorded roughly 70 metres above ground level, tornado expert Timothy Marshall stated in a report that “[it is] very possible that EF5 winds reached ground level or near ground level at some point”.|
|May 31||2024||Canadian County, Oklahoma||84||Numerous homes were swept away, many of which were found to have been well-anchored to their foundations with bolts secured with nuts and washers. Basements were left exposed at several houses, with one house sustaining collapse of all four basement walls. Several houses had no visible debris left anywhere near their foundations. Much of the debris along the path was finely granulated. Many cars and trucks were tossed up to 1 mile (1.6 km) and mangled beyond recognition; several were stripped down to their frames and three were found crumpled and wrapped around trees. Between El Reno and Piedmont, an industrial area was struck, where a small extraction rig was toppled, an oil pumpjack was tossed 200 yards, a freight train engine was tossed 600 yards, and tanker and boxcars were tossed up to 0.75 miles. Six 200,000-gallon petroleum tanks in the area were destroyed, with four described as being “crumpled like soup cans”, while several 75,000 gallon crude oil tanks were tossed up to 800 yards. To the north, a power substation was leveled, with most of the transformers severely mangled or shredded, and some missing entirely. Additionally, trees were entirely debarked and denuded with many being reduced to stumps; one large oak tree was uprooted and thrown 80 yards through the air; a curtain rod was found speared into the brick wall of an office building; and tremendous ground scouring up to 24 inches deep occurred.|
|May 31||2024||Ardmore, Oklahoma||14||Rated EF5 based on damage at and around the Ardmore Municipal Airport. The main building was mostly demolished, with well over a third of near the south side being entirely leveled. Debris from airport buildings was finely granulated. The cabin of a control tower was removed and thrown 300 yards through the air, and several medium-sized cargo planes were flipped or tossed short distances. A layer of newly laid asphalt was scoured from the ground, along with over 12 inches of soil beneath it. Two fueling trucks tossed from the airport were never located. Additionally, deep ground scouring occurred over nearly a third of the tornado’s path, and trees were completely debarked and denuded.|
|May 31||2024||Seymour, Texas||22||Hundreds of homes were swept away along the tornado's path, including several which were described in damage surveys as being "particularly well-anchored to their foundations". At several homes, ground floors were broken off and swept away, while at others, tiles were scoured from foundations and plumbing was removed. Two shopping malls and several warehouses were leveled, and a three-story library was demolished and partially swept away. Additionally, several cars were thrown over 400 yards and mangled beyond recognition; trees were completely debarked and denuded, and some grass scouring occurred. To the north, an amusement park was struck, where several brick buildings were swept away, roller coaster tracks were demolished and several cars tossed up to 1,200 yards through the air, and a Ferris wheel was completely demolished and crumpled into a tight ball.|
|March 18||2025||Chatham-Eros, Louisiana||2||Nine frame houses were swept away, trees were completely debarked with several being uprooted, and extensive ground scouring occurred. Rating disputed.|
|June 11||2026||Sabetha, Kansas||0||Believed by several experts to have been one of the most violent tornadoes in Kansas state history. Well-built, anchor-bolted brick houses were swept away along Interstate 75, and several tractors were thrown hundreds of yards from farms, two of which were never located. A Freightliner truck and combine harvester were thrown over 700 yards through the air and found crumpled and wrapped together. Ground scouring up to 21 inches deep occurred in places, reducing fields to expanses of wet mud.|
|June 24||2026||Sarita, Texas||0||A neighbouring bank and post office were swept away, with a small portion of the post office’s foundation being broken off and partially dislodged. Parked cars were tossed up to 400 yards through the air, including a van weighed down with a load of concrete blocks. Additionally, palm yuccas were shredded and mesquite trees were completely debarked, and the concrete was scoured from a drainage ditch.|
|July 12||2027||Iron River, Wisconsin||13||Several brick houses were swept away, and and concrete blocks weighing in excess of 13,000 pounds were tossed up to 300 yards from a construction site. Nearby trees were entirely debarked and denuded, and power poles were snapped near their bases and dragged along the ground. Rating disputed.|