This is a video of a tornado in East Texas, near Forney, Texas picking up trailers and throwing them around.
My problem with the video is the way the media is portraying it. I find this video to be nothing more than “shock video”. Why you may ask? What the media doesn’t tell you without the viewer investigating is that these are empty trailers. How is that relevant? A simple bit of physics called ‘buoyancy’.
When the winds hit the trailer, the empty trailer instantly became less dense than the air and became airborne. The empty inside of the trailer acts the same way an empty hull of a ship allows the ship to float on water. In this case, the empty inside of the trailers allow the trailer to float on the air.
If you had say a 20,000lb EMPTY trailer, vs a 20,000 FULL trailer, the empty trailer would still become airborne due to the buoyancy, whereas the full trailer would probably tip over and/or roll a little. Very light winds can make a buoyant trailer become airborne in no time. This has nothing to do with windspeed at all and all to do with the buoyancy and density of the trailer. The weight of the trailer is irrelevant, it’s the buoyancy of that trailer that matters.
So basically, to show a flying trailer to give the impression a tornado is “powerful” is nothing more than either ignorance, or shock video. To not accompany the video with a blurb stating why these trailers are flying around is poor journalism.
Now, obviously you do not want to be in the vicinity where large trailers are dropping around you, but this has nothing to do with tornado intensity. Because of this, tornado speeds cannot be accurately assessed at the time of the tornado, so all tornadoes should be taken as if they are an EF5 and not judged by debris it’s throwing.