Gale Tornado

40–72 MPH

Some damage to chimneys. Tree branches broken off. Shallow-rooted trees uprooted. No big deal, unless, of course, it hits your house. Still, what are you, a fuckin’ baby? Stand up and take it, man. It’s just some wind.

Moderate Tornado

73–112 MPH

Shingles peeled off roofs. Mobile homes overturned. Moving autos pushed off roads. OK, it might be time to worry a little. One hundred and twelve miles per hour is pretty fast. Remember that time you and that guy were in your dad’s big old Buick, and you pushed it to, like, 118? Holy shit, that was awesome!

Significant Tornado

113–157 MPH

Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses. Large trees snapped or uprooted. Light-object missiles generated. Missiles? Wow. This sounds like Wizard of Oz-type shit. Go jump in the bathtub and hope for the best.

Severe Tornado

158–206 MPH

Severe damage. Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed homes. Trains overturned. Most trees in forests uprooted. Heavy cars lifted off ground. Man, this Fujita guy must get around. He’s looking at well-constructed homes, trains, forests, highways—all in one tornado? How long was that thing on the ground, man? Still—no way that Buick would be lifted off the ground. That thing was solid.

Devastating Tornado

207–260 MPH

Well-constructed homes leveled. Structures with weak foundations blown some distance. Cars thrown and large missiles generated. Holy fuck. You’re pretty much dead at this point. You’re over the rainbow and under the ground, man. Forget it. Even the Buick’s not gonna save you, even though there was one time when you and that guy were kinda drunk and riding around, and you took that hill by the house really fucking fast, and you were airborne, man! For, like, four seconds! It was like those guys from the parking garage in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the guys who took Cameron’s car and drove it all over the place and put all those miles on it! Man, that was a great movie—they were skyin’ up there, in that awesome car. Sweet! Remember when Cameron kicks the car and it falls off the jack and goes out the window?

Incredible Tornado

261–318 MPH

Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and disintegrated. Automobile-sized missiles flying through the air in excess of 100 mph. Trees debarked. Shit, at this point, my dog would be debarked. Man, everyone would die. Three hundred and eighteen miles per hour? Shit.