Experts say chance for Brazos Valley tornado is low

BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - According the experts at the National Hurricane Conference, tornadoes may become more dangerous than hurricanes this year.

Just last May, the Brazos Valley experienced a tornado that caused a large amount of damage to Wheeler Ridge area in Bryan.

"We're getting better at picking out the high risk days when you're likely to have an outbreak of multiple tornadoes, but it's still very difficult to forecast a day where you have isolated tornadoes when you maybe have one or two tornadoes," said Chris Nowotarsky. He is an associate professor at Texas A&M who specializes in tornadoes.

"We're right around our peak probability moving through mid-April to mid-May is where we really see the greatest chance for tornadoes in this year," Nowotarsky continued. Though it is a peak time, he says chances are still relatively low.

"In this area for this time of year we're in this area, this yellow or orange color which is more .5% probability that we'd have a tornado within a 25 miles on any given day," said Nowotarsky.

The Community Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) says they monitor the weather constantly to ensure the safety of the community.

"It's just as important for use to prepare for the down bursts and the tornadoes and the hurricanes and treat them all the same," said College Station's emergency management coordinator Brian Hilton.

The group recommends during a storm that residents keep informed, have a plan, and invest in a weather radio. The Brazos Valley area currently does not have tornado sirens, but CEOC doesn't think they're necessary.

"Somebody's got to be around to activate that. It'd be cheaper to go out and buy a weather radio. You're cutting at the middle man. At best you're cutting out 11 minutes warning for an actual tornado," said Hilton.

Right now, the CEOC team feels they are able to alert the public well.

"Whether it's just a single storm that day or it's an all-day event there's somebody down here in the emergency operations center paying attention to what's going on," said Hilton.

Residents are also encouraged to sign up for "Brazos on the Alert" to receive weather warnings.