Wedge Tornado near Binger OK (22 May 1981)

Wedge Tornado

"Wedge" is informal storm observers' slang for a tornado which looks wider than the distance from ground to ambient cloud base. There is no scientific meaning to it; since many factors (actual tornado size, cloud base height, moisture content of the air, intervening terrain, soil and dust lofting) can regulate a tornado's apparent width. Although some storm observers use the term "wedge" rather loosely, this massive tornado near Binger OK, on 22 May 1981, qualifies by almost any criteria. Although many famous "wedge" tornadoes have also been violent, producing F4-F5 damage on the Fujita scale, a tornado's size does not necessarily indicate anything about its strength.