Texas Tornado Statistics

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Texas lies on the southern end of Tornado Alley. Texas' location between the Gulf of Mexico on the southeast and the Rocky Mountains on its western periphery make it a prime area for the formation of tornadoes. An average of 153 tornadoes touch down in Texas each year. Tornadoes may occur in any month, but occur most often during April, May and June between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. During the period 1959-2000, 6,417 tornadoes were reported in Texas, with 63% occurring from April-June and 33% occurring in May. From 1950-2007, Texas encountered 84 tornadoes with a strength of F4 or higher (winds > 207 mph). Texas ranks 11th among the 50 states in density of tornadoes with an average of 5.7 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles, per year.  The U.S. record for the fastest tornado winds occurred at Wichita Falls in northwest Texas on April, 2, 1958 with a wind speed of 258 mph. The current record for number of U.S. tornadoes in one year is 2004 with 1,817 tornadoes. The average number per year for the last 10 years is 1,270. During 2008, 1,690 tornadoes were confirmed in the U.S, with 595 reported during May 2008. 

Tornadoes per 2,500 sqaure miles

 

Top 10 Texas counties with reported tornadoes from
 1950-2007       

County Location Major City #
1.  Harris Gulf Coast Houston 212
2.  Hale Panhandle Plainview 116
3.  Galveston Gulf Coast Galveston 106
4.  Jefferson Gulf Coast Beaumont 100
5.  Nueces Gulf Coast Corpus Christi 93
6.  Dallas North Texas Dallas 82
7.  Galveston Gulf Coast Galveston 79
8.  Carson Panhandle Amarillo 79
9.  Tarrant North Texas Ft. Worth 78
10. Lubbock Panhandle Lubbock 77

 

Top 10 strongest Texas tornadoes 
Tornado strength measured by the Fujita tornado intensity scale, distance measured in miles and width measured in feet

Counties affected

Area in Tx Date Fujita

Distance

Width

Fatalities

Injuries
1. McLennan Central 5-11-53 5 20.9 1750 114 597
2. Lubbock Panhandle 5-11-70 5 10.6 4000 26 500
3. Williamson Central 5-27-97 5 5.1 1950 27 12
4. Wichita Northwest 4-30-64

5

4.7 1500 7 111
5. Brown Central 4-19-76 5 10.5 1320 0 11
6. McLennan, Bosque Central 5-06-73 5 10.6 300 0 0
7. Archer, Wichita, Clay Northwest 4-10-79 4 34.1 2640 42 1740
8. Swisher, Armstrong, Briscoe, Gray Panhandle 4-02-82 4 65 2640 16 42
9. Tom Green Southwest 5-11-53 4 9.9 2640 13 159
10. Lamar, Red River North 4-02-82 4 23 750 10 170

 

Top 10 Texas tornadoes with longest distance on ground 
Tornado distance measured in miles on ground and width measured in feet

Counties affected

Area in Tx Date

Distance

Width
1. Travis, Williamson, Milam, Robertson, Leon, Houston Central

4/30/54

139.9 2640
2. Parmer, Randall, Armstrong, Carson, Gray  Panhandle

4/17/70

130.0 2640
3. Val Verde, Maverick, Kinney, Zavala, Frio Big Bend

5/15/80

99.8 120
4. Hale, Floyd, Swisher, Briscoe, Hall, Donley Panhandle

4/17/70

96.6 2640
5. Armstrong, Carson, Carson, Gray, Roberts, Hemphill Panhandle 4/13/73 90.1 450
6. Parmer, Delta, Randall, Potter Panhandle 5/24/57 70.1 100
7. Trinity, Angelina, Nacogdoches, San Augustine Southeast 4/30/54 68.8 2650
8. Swisher, Briscoe, Armstrong, Donley, Gray Panhandle 4/18/70 65.0 2640
9. Gregg, Harrison East 5/03/58 59.2 1320
10. Williamson, Lee Southeast

9/04/56

56.6 1750

Tornado statistics and chart data source: National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC. 

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