640: Tornado Hunter
Title text: The Fujita scale was replaced by the enhanced Fujita scale in 2007, but I think 'EF-5' sounds stupid, so I vote we just use the new measurements for assigning number but still call them 'F-whatever'.
This is a play on the occupations/hobbies "tornado chaser" - someone who, instead of evacuating the area like normal people, actually goes in to get a closer look at the tornado - and "big game hunter", who often kill for trophies. Tornado chasers are typically, but not always, meteorologists. Here, the tornado chaser actually hunts the tornado with a gun like big game, the joke being that this is not possible in real life.
The "F-3" is a reference to the Fujita scale used to classify tornado intensity. It goes from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, with an updated Enhanced Fujita scale, as mentioned in the title text, being used in the US since 2007.
The title text is an aside from Randall, saying that he finds the notation for the Enhanced Fujita scale (EF-#, for example EF-5 for a level 5 tornado,) to be stupid, and suggests that we continue to use the Enhanced Fujita scale to measure the strength of tornadoes, but abbreviate it to F instead, leading to the non-stupid "F-whatever" notation, whatever signifying the number of the tornado on the scale.
This is the second comic about tornadoes, a recurring subject on xkcd, but it was the first to actually show a tornado. Storm chasers hunting tornadoes was also mentioned in the first comic about tornadoes 402: 1,000 Miles North and they were also shown in 752: Phobia.
- [Two people are in a car, which is driving past a cactus. The passenger has a pith helmet and a mustache.]
- Cueball: The tornado's three miles west, moving northeast at 15 mph.
- Passenger: Go right; get ahead of it.
- [A tornado is visible. The passenger pulls out a gun, and stands up in the car.]
- Passenger: Okay, we're in range! Stop here!
- [The passenger fires the gun at the tornado.]
- Tornado: AUGH!
- Passenger: Big one! Must be an F-3!
- Cueball: I'm not sure we're doing this right.
- Passenger: Help me mount it on the hood.
- [The passenger is holding the tornado by its tail.]
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