by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
For the first time, officials with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque are using an “Enhanced Fujita Scale,” or the EF, to categorize the strength of tornadoes.
The tornado that touched down on Friday in Logan has been determined to be an EF1, with winds estimated between 90 mph and 95 mph, with spikes up to 105 mph, said Keith Hayes, warning coordination meteorologist, NWS in Albuquerque.
The original Fujita Scale was developed by meteorologist Theodore Fujita in 1971, but has been modified over the years due to changes in construction and building materials to include more damage indicators, said NWS forecaster Tim Shy.
The new system uses 28 damage indicators from a transmission line tower to a double-wide mobile home to a shopping mall. Each is also assessed for its DOD or degree of damage, Shy said.
There are six measures, from EF0 (65-85 mph winds) to EF5 (200 mph and greater). Past 200 mph, Hayes said it’s not worth categorizing because, “everything gets wiped out.”
Hayes said EF2 (120-125 mph) was measured from the south end of Friday’s Clovis storm along U.S. 70 to the railroad tracks and north from Sycamore Street to 21st Street.
From the railroad tracks to Yucca Junior High, Hayes said the winds were in the ranges of EF0 and EF1 (65-100 mph).
There are no records of an EF5 in the state since information has been tracked, going back 60 years, Hayes said.
NWS set February of this year as the start-up time to begin using the Enhanced Fugita Scale.
NWS officials surveyed Clovis and Logan on Saturday to categorize the tornadoes that swept through eastern New Mexico on Friday.
“We’ll take pictures. Study those and then categorize the storm,” said Charlie Liles, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS Albuquerque office.
“It’s early for the tornadoes … they usually come later in March and down in Eddy and Lea counties,” he said.
“From my records, the last tornadoes to hit the Logan area were July 12, 1963, and it was F2, and there was one on June 3, 1961, and it was an F2.”
In Logan, indications are that the tornado followed a northeast path along Highway 54, then over the bridge that crosses the Canadian River into town.
Hayes said it touched down at the Sunshine Mobile Home Park on Fourth Street, lifted up and then hit down again at the trailer park at the base of the overpass on the northeast side of town.
Logan EMS Director Annette Shivers said she saw it at Lake Road and Highway 54.
“It had a big wide funnel that was filled with debris,” she said.
It then headed up Fourth Street, she said, where it then hit the Sunshine Mobile and, “I saw it blow trailers wide apart.”
The Enhanced Fujita Scale
EF Number 3 Second Gust (mph measurment)
EF5 Over 200