Deadly Tornado Outbreak in Texas

A swarm of tornadoes barreled across northeastern Texas on Wednesday evening.  These powerful storms caused widespread damage and claimed the lives of at least six people.

The National Weather Service, in its preliminary assessment, reported that sixteen twisters touched down near the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, one of the largest metropolitan areas in this country.  The strongest storm in this outbreak was rated an EF-4, the second highest ranking on Enhanced Fujita Scale. With winds ranging from 166 to 200 mph, it devastated the town of Granbury, TX. Another hard hit area was Cleburne, TX, where an EF-3 storm is reported to have cut a path one-mile wide through part of the city.

Tornadoes, nature’s most violent storms, are generated by severe thunderstorm activity.  That said, not all thunderstorms produce twisters.  They need something to set the lower atmosphere into a twisting motion.  In this case, that was warm, humid air moving north from the Gulf of Mexico that collided with hot, dry air blowing in from the west.

Texas Tornado

Texas Tornado

Image Credit: WHNT