Home Extreme Weather News Tornado Outbreak in Northeast Texas on January 20, 2010
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Tornado Outbreak in Northeast Texas on January 20, 2010  E-mail
Friday, 22 January 2010 18:01
As I was bringing you the story on my blog and twitter as it broke, here is a recap of the events. The National Weather Service has been busy out conducting their surveys and rating the tornadoes.
Preliminary damage surveys by the NWS indicate at least 8 tornadoes touched down across northeast Texas Wednesday night thanks to a strong storm system crossing the plains.


01.21.10.van.zandt.damage1



Conditions were unusually spring like for this time of year with plenty of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico streaming north and lots of wind shear courtesy of the upper level system coming across. Sunny skies warming things up and the atmosphere looked much like an early spring stormy day, but in January!

Supercell storms broke out in the early evening and began producing tornadoes shortly before dark and continued until things settled down and moved out of the area after 10 pm. Hardest hit was Harrison County and the town of Waskom along I20 near the Louisiana State border. A large tornado estimated at 3/4 of a mile wide crossed I20 and Waskom and continued on a path for over 15 miles causing EF3 damage of around 150-160 mph.

Another tornado also touched down in Harrison County hear Harleton, TX but only lasted a half mile and 50 yards wide, but still managed to produce EF1 damage of 95-105 mph. Further south in Sabine County EF1 damage was found about 500 yards long and 150 yards wide.

Back west of the Waskom area in Smith County, a separate supercell produced a small tornado that was 75 yards wide and lasted about a mile and a half, producing EF0 damage. A more significant tornado in Van Zandt County started near Canton, TX on I20. The storm possibly cycled and produced a second tornado. The NWS was unsure if this were one or two tornadoes due to limited access to the damage path. They rated this one EF2 at 110-120 mph

To the south in Henderson County, two tornadoes occured. The first an EF0 with winds of 80mph that injured 2 people when a mobile home was destroyed. This tornado was on the ground for 1.5 miles.
A second tornado in Henderson County was found to have lasted 1.5 miles and was also rated EF0 at 80-85mph.

Timely warnings by the National Weather Service and excellent wall-to-wall media coverage of the potentially deadly event no doubt can be credited toward no deaths and only a couple of injuries during this event. This happening in a very wooded area, mostly after dark and in January when the average person isn't even remotely thinking tornadoes at this time of year is a very deadly combination as we often see in Arkansas, Tennesse and the deep south this time of year.
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For more on the preliminary surveys:

NWS Shreveport, LA
NWS Ft. Worth, TX
Photos and tornado path maps from NWS Ft. Worth
Last Updated on Monday, 08 February 2010 01:34
 
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