I am definitely reconsidering my view (and low ranking) of the Hackleburg (04/27/2011) tornado, based upon all the fantastic discussion and points of contention in here--and most especially due to the fantastic photographic evidence from the Hackleburg event.
On another note, perhaps a useful way to categorize our unofficial estimates is by category.
For the following categories, rankings are from most to least intense, top to bottom. These reflect my own judgment.
Most severe deforestation / debarking / ground-scouring
1. 05/24/2011 Calumet / Piedmont, OK (worst debarking and deforestation ever)
2. 05/25/1955 Udall, KS (almost-ludicrous debarking, some of the most intense ground-scouring ever)
3. 08/28/1990 Plainfield, IL (ludicrously intense ground-scouring, most intense ever, period)
4. 04/26/1991 Andover, KS (extreme debarking, wind-rowing)
5. 03/18/1925 Murphysboro and De Soto, IL / Griffin and Princeton, IN (very intense debarking, ground-scouring in many locations)
6. 05/12/2004 Harper, KS (entire, large trees thrown long distances, reduced to debarked stumps)
7. 05/27/1997 Jarrell, TX (similar situation to that of Harper, KS: trees shredded to bits)
8. 04/27/2011 Philadelphia, MS (have revised my view; debarking and pine-deforestation look very intense)
9. 04/27/2011 Hackleburg / Phil Campbell, AL (overall deforestation, some sections of ground-scouring)
10. 04/27/2011 Smithville, MS (absolutely incredible wind-rowing and debarking)
11. 05/03/1999 Bridge Creek, OK (combined debarking and ground-scouring)
Most severe damage to large industrial parks or malls
1. 05/31/1985 Niles, OH (mall) / Wheatland, PA (asphalt plant)
2. 05/31/1985 Barrie, Ontario (factories)
3. 07/31/1987 Edmonton, Alberta (large industries flattened)
4. 07/13/2004 Roanoke, IL
5. 04/27/2011 Hackleburg, AL (Wrangler Plant)
6. 03/03/1966 Jackson, MS (Candlestick Park--see photos #1
7. 02/05/2008 Clinton, AR (boat factory)
8. 04/03/1974 Guin, AL (immense warehouse flattened)
9. 05/25/2008 Parkersburg, IA (steel frame/girder snapped at base)
10. 05/22/2011 Joplin, MO (Home Depot, numerous industries, etc.)
Here are some incredible photos of the debris-granulation /-fragmentation that ensued in the Roanoke (Parsons Plant) tornado. I am shocked that no one has even brought up the damage this tornado did.
Corn stalks near the plant:
Immense ground-scouring nearby:
Also, check out the images of the tornado itself. Some incredible rotation is evident in the size and speed of the debris clouds (suction vortices).
Edited by Bull Shark, 11 June 2013 - 01:30 AM.