The Fujita Scale is used by meteorologists to rate the wind speed of a tornado based on damage caused on the ground, ranking twisters from F0 to the devastating F5.
According to the National Weather Service, the strongest tornado ever documented in Arkansas was the state's sole brush with a massive F5 - the so-called "Sneed Tornado," which wiped several Northeast Arkansas towns off the map on the afternoon of April 10, 1929.
The tornado began in Independence County about three miles south of Batesville and traveled northeast, reaching its maximum wind speed through the small towns of Pleasant Valley and Sneed before disappearing near Alicia. The twister was over a half-mile wide at its largest, and destroyed 40 homes and damaged another 40 so badly that most had to be demolished. Twenty-three people were killed, and 59 were injured. In places, winds swept clean the ground where houses had stood, and reduced buildings to debris so small that the lumber couldn't be salvaged. On the same day, F4 tornadoes struck nearby Guion and Smiths Chapel.
Here's the Fujita Scale, as described by the Tornado Project, a tornado education company, on its website, www.tornadoproject.com:
40-72 mph winds
Some damage to chimneys; breaks branches off trees; pushes over shallow-rooted trees; damages sign boards.
73-112 mph winds
The lower limit is the beginning of hurricane wind speed; peels surfaces off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off the roads; attached garages may be destroyed.
113-157 mph winds
Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars pushed over; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated.
158-206 mph winds
Roofs and some walls torn off well constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted.
207-260 mph winds
Well-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown off some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.
261-318 mph winds
Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate; automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; steel reinforced concrete structures badly damaged.
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