Texas Historical Tornado Information

April and May typically are the two months of any year in which convective storms (i.e thunderstorms) are most frequent Texas. The most dangerous hazard associated with thunderstorms in April and May in Texas is tornadoes. The following is a list of tornadoes that have occurred in Texas since 1880 in which ten (10) or more deaths occurred. The list is arranged by the day of the month on which the tornadoes occurred. Following the date of the incident, a white "D" signifies that the event occurred in the daytime, while a black "N" signifies that the event occurred at night. One event occurred at sunset and is marked with a yellow "SS".

[All of the tornadoes listed below occurred prior to 2007. The F-scale (named for Dr. Tetsuya Fujita, a severe weather researcher) was in use for rating all of these tornadoes. Initially, Dr. Fujita and Allen Pearson, then in charge of the National Severe Storms Forecast Center (forerunner of today's Storm Prediction Center), began rating storms on this scale in 1971. Several iterations of the F-scale occurred in the 1970s, and the scale was used to rate tornado damage from 1950 forward. In 1991, Tom Grazulis released a retrospective analysis of tornadoes (damage rated F2 to F5) going back into prior centuries. Beginning in 2007, the Enhanced Fujita (EF) rating system was implemented.]

April

April 2, 1957 D

   
A tornado developed in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas around 4:30pm and moved north across the Trinity River basin southwest of downtown Dallas. The track length was 15 miles and the track width was 125 yards. Ten people died and 216 were injured. The damage from the tornado was rated F3.

April 2, 1982 D

    A tornado developed near Paris and moved eastward across portions of Lamar and Red River counties. The track length was 23 miles, and the track width was 250 yards. Damage was rated F4. Ten people died, and 170 were injured.

April 8, 1919 N

    A tornado that developed in Collin County between after 11pm moved into Fannin County before midnight, causing severe damage in several rural communities. There were 18 fatalities and at least sixty people injured. The damage was rated F4.

April 8, 1922 N

   
A tornado moved through portions of Runnels, Callahan and Coleman counties, with the the track of the tornado from Rovina to Oplin.  Damage was rated F3. The track length was 45 miles, and the width was 150 yards. The deaths totaled 12, with 90 others injured.

April 9, 1919 N

   
At least 44 people died in tornadoes (both producing damage rated F4) in northeastern Texas. One tornado moved through Wood, Camp and Titus counties, with 34 deaths and 100 injured. Another tornado moved through Henderson and Van Zandt counties, with 20 deaths and 60 injured. Twelve additional deaths occurred in subsequent tornadoes (at least two) that affected portions of the Texas counties of Red River and Bowie, and several other counties in Arkansas.

April 9, 1947 D

    A tornado (damage rated F5) moved through several counties in the Texas Panhandle and crossed into Oklahoma. The town of Glazier was destroyed. In Texas, there were 68 deaths and at least 272 injured.

April 10, 1979 D
   
    A violent tornado (F4 damage) developed about 3:25pm in Texas and moved across two Texas counties (Foard and Wilbarger )and into Oklahoma. The Texas portion of the track was up to 800 yards wide, and the length was 11 miles. Eleven (11) people died and 67 were injured. The towns of Lockett and Vernon suffered major damage from the tornado.

    Later that afternoon, a large, violent tornado (damage rated F4) struck the Wichita Falls area around 5pm in the afternoon, causing 42 deaths and 1,750 injured. The tornado eventually crossed the Red River into Oklahoma.

April 12, 1927 SS

   
A tornado (damage rated F5) virtually destroyed much of Rocksprings (Edwards County), leaving 74 dead and 205 injured. The tornado moved toward the east-southeast beyond Rocksprings for at least 35 miles.

April 13, 1921 D

   
A tornado developed shortly after 2pm in Collin County and devastated the Melissa community. Damage was rated F4. The deaths totaled 11, with 80 people injured. The path width was 400 yards and extended 11 miles..

April 15, 1921 D

   
A tornado (damage rated F4) moved through portions of Marion and Cass counties in northeast Texas, causing 59 deaths with at least 300 people injured. The tornado track was 112 miles long and the track continued beyond Texas well into Arkansas.

April 18, 1970 N

   
A tornado developed around 1am in the Texas Panhandle, and affected five Texas counties (Swisher, Briscoe, Armstrong, Donley and Gray), before moving into Oklahoma. The fatalities in Texas numbered 17, with over 60 people injured. This tornado (damage rated F4) had a 70-mile long track., with the track width of up to 800 yards.

April 26, 1906 D
   
   
On April 26, 1906, a tornado developed around 6:15pm in Clay County about two miles southwest of Bellevue. The tornado virtually destroyed the town, causing a total of 17 deaths and over 50 people injured. The tornado moved out of Clay County into Montague County before dissipating. The damage was rated F4. The tornado path was estimated to be 1,000 yards wide and the path length was 9 miles.

April 28, 1893 N
   
   
A tornado (damage rated F4) struck in Eastland County about 9:45pm, destroying or severely damaging most of the buildings in the town of Cisco. The number of deaths was 23, with 150 injured. The damage path continued beyond Cisco toward the northeast where several farms were destroyed.

April 28, 1942 N
   
   
A tornado developed around 9:30pm in the evening in Foard County, causing devastating damage (rated F4) at the town of Crowell. The tornado track was only 11 miles in length, but it was up to almost a mile wide. The deaths totaled 11 but 250 people were injured, many severely.

[Information on tornadoes that occurred prior to January 1, 1950 was obtained from the book Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991 by Thomas P. Grazulis; information on tornadoes that occurred after January 1, 1950 was obtained from both Grazulis (1991) and the NOAA-NCEI Storm Data online database.]

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May

May 4, 1922 D
   
    Two simultaneous tornadoes developed shortly before 4pm in the Austin area. One tornado developed near Fiskville, about six miles northwest of the State Capitol, and moved toward the south-southwest. That tornado caused injuries but no deaths. It eventually crossed the Colorado River near Deep Eddy, and disappeared toward the southwest while moving over an undeveloped area. The damage from this tornado was rated F2.

   
    The other tornado developed in the city of Austin at the State Cemetery, less than a mile from the State Capitol. The tornado also moved toward the south-southwest, causing major damage on both sides of the river. South of the Colorado River, the tornado intensified and caused serious damage to homes in Travis Heights, then struck St. Edwards College (now "university"), destroying the top two floors of a dormitory and other building. One fatality occurred there.  From that point, the tornado devastated Woodward Manufacturing Company, moved through the St. Elmo area, and turned slightly more to the southwest, where it eventually struck the Davis Hill area. A total of 12 deaths occurred as a result of this tornado, with damage rated F4. This tornado had a path length of 15 miles and a path width of more than 250 yards. In addition to the deaths, over 50 people were injured.


May 6, 1930 D

    1) A tornado (damage rated F4) struck portions of Hill, Navarro and Ellis counties beginning around 3:30pm. Across the three counties, 41 people died and 200 were injured. The path length was 35 miles long and up to 500 yards wide.

    2) About 4:45pm, another (unrelated) tornado struck portions of Karnes and DeWitt counties. There the fatalities numbered 36, and the injured numbered 60. This tornado also produced F4 damage. The track length was 20 miles and at times the path was 200 yards wide.

May 9, 1927 N

    A nocturnal outbreak of violent tornadoes (all produced F4 damage) killed a total of 41 people after midnight on May 9, 1927. One tornado in Collin County (2:25am) devastated the town of Nevada, where 19 people were killed and more than 100 people were injured. The tornado track extended for 15 miles, and was 400 yards wide. About 3am, a tornado in Hunt County struck the communities of Wolfe City and Celeste, killing four people and injuring at least 20. The path of this tornado was reported to be 15 miles long, and at times as wide as 400 yards. Then about 3:10am, a tornado developed in Garland, with 15 fatalities and at least 40 injured. The tornado path was one mile long, and 200 yards wide.
 
May 11, 1953 D

    1) A tornado developed near near the Lake View area of San Angelo around 2:15pm and moved across the northern portion of the city. Damage was rated F4. The tornado track was 20 miles in length and up to 800 yards wide. The tornado killed 13 people and injured 159 others.
   
    2) About two hours later (between 4:10 and 4:30pm), another tornado developed 170 miles to the east of San Angelo, southwest of Waco, then moved northeast across Waco, including the downtown area, and continued moving northeast through Bellmead toward Axtell. This was one of the deadliest tornadoes in Texas history, with 114 people killed and 597 injured. The damage was rated F5. The tornado path length was 23 miles long and, at times, 600 yards wide.


May 11, 1970 N

    During the evening hours not long past sunset, a tornado developed on the southwest side of Lubbock and moved through the city. Damage was rated F5. There were 26 fatalities1 and 500 people were injured. The tornado covered a path 26 miles long and was, at times, 500 yards wide.
    [1 There is a discrepancy in the number of deaths. Grazulis' Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991 lists 28 deaths, while the NOAA/NCEI Storm Data data shows 26 deaths.] 


May 14, 1923 N

    A tornado moved through Howard and Mitchell counties, affecting areas from Big Springs to Lorraine. There were 23 deaths and 250 people were injured. The path length was 45 miles and the path width, at times, was 800 yards. The tornado produced F5 damage.

May 15, 1896 N

    A violent tornado affected portions of Denton and Grayson counties, from Pilot Point to Sherman. Damage from the tornado was rated F5. The death toll was 73, and injuries were at least 200. The tornado moved along a path 28 miles long, and, at times, 400 yards wide.

May 15, 1957 N

    A tornado devastated the town of Silverton in Briscoe County, killing 20 people and injuring 80 others. The path length was 17 miles long and the tornado was 250 yards wide. The damage was rated as F4.

May 18, 1902 D

    A tornado developed near Goliad and moved northeast through the town, causing 114 deaths. At least 250 others were injured. The path length was 15 miles and the path width was 250 yards. Damage was rated F4. (This tornado and the Waco tornado (1953) each killed 114 people.)

May 22, 1987 D

    A tornado developed in Reeves County and moved into Saragosa, virtually destroying the town, and causing 30 deaths, and 121 injuries. The tornado path was only 3 miles long and 100 yards wide. Damage was rated F4. This appears to be the only tornado west of the Pecos River in Texas that has a death toll of two or more.

May 27, 1997 D

    One of many tornadoes of the Central Texas Tornado Outbreak of 1997, a large, violent tornado struck a residential area in the community of Jarrell in northern Williamson County around 3:40pm. All of the dead and injured were in a subdivision named Double Creek Estates, where 27 people died and 12 were injured. The tornado moved very slowly from north-northeast to south-southwest, with a path length of 5 miles and a path width of 650 yards.  Damage was rated F5. The tornado killed and dismembered numerous cattle and several horses, removed asphalt from paved roadways, and leveled site-built homes.

May 28, 1880 N

    A nocturnal tornado developed in Fannin County shortly after 10pm and devastated the Savoy community. The death toll was 14 and the injured numbered 60. The damage was rated F4. The tornado path length was 5 miles with a maximum width of 200 yards.

May 31, 1892 D

   
    A tornado developed about 5:30pm west of Troy in northern Bell County, then moved east into Falls County near the Durango community. The tornado track affected many farms. The tornado track was ten (10) miles long, with a maximum width of 250 yards. Damage was rated F4. Ten (10) people died in the tornado and 20 were injured.



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