Severe weather could be coming to the Brazos Valley this weekend. This comes on the heels of deadly tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest last weekend. And that has some Brazos Valley residents wondering what's in store for our area this tornado season.
The last major tornado to hit the Brazos Valley was 16 years ago at Brazos Bottom in Burleson County. Chief Meteorologist Bob French says we're long over due for another one.
" We have had some minor outbreaks that have caused some damage over the last 10 years or so. It seems like more tornados strike counties around Brazos County," said French.
The Brazos Valley lies just off the southern tip of tornado alley which means it's particularly susceptible to a tornado outbreak.
When is that most likely? Now. Forecasters say while they can happen anytime, they're most likely from March to August.
Weekend meteorologist and severe weather expert Shane Motley says how active the season will be depends on many factors.
" As far as tornado predictions go it's really hard to forecast whether a year will be an active tornado season or not simply because there are so many ingredients that go into making a tornado," said Motley.
" There's so many early season outbreaks up in the mid plains and the Midwest. I think it's going to be a very active year and some of that could make it to our part of the state as well," said French.
Jason Sippel has been chasing and recording storms for 5 years and has seen first hand when a tornado is forming and on the path for destruction.
" There was lightening constantly flashing all around us and it forces us to stay in the vehicle most of the time because you'd have lightening strike maybe a hundred yards from you and it would just be like an explosion going on," said Sippel.
Typically you'll only get an advanced warning of about 30 minutes if a tornado is coming to your area so it's best to always be prepared.
Here's some safety tips to help you stay prepared:
Conduct tornado drills each tornado season. Always have disaster supplies on hand such as flashlights, emergency food, water and cash.
Develop an emergency communication plan in case you get separated from, your family.
If you are caught in a tornado go to the lowest level of your home or building and stay in the center of the room. If you live in a mobile home, seek stronger shelter or lie in a ditch or low lying area.