Christmas Morning Tornadoes Confirmed in Houston County

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The Houston / Galveston National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes touched down in Houston County on Christmas Morning -- one of which rated as an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The first tornado started 5 miles west / southwest of Pennington, traveled 7 miles, then ended 2 miles north of the community. The site survey noted it was 300 miles wide. With a rating of EF-3 --estimated, peak wind speeds of 150mph -- the tornado was on the ground for a total of 10 minutes.

According the the National Weather Service, the "worst of the damage was along Highway 287, a mile north of Pennington. A feed store and restaurant were completely destroyed -- with debris scattered in a field to the east. One witness observed a wide, dark cloud moving across the path, scattering debris. Several homes and trailers were severely damaged along the path...but there were no serious injuries."

The second tornado started 1 mile north / northwest of Pennington and ended shortly after. Markings on the ground indicate that the tornado traveled three tenths of a mile before dissipating and was 30 yards in width. This tornado was rated an EF-0 -- estimated, peak wind speeds of 75mph -- and was on the ground for about 1 minute.

The brief touchdown was observed by a police officer near the scene of the earlier, and larger, tornado along Highway 287. There was some debris associated with this weak tornado, however very little additional damage was done to structures in the area.

There were no fatalities or injuries associated with these storms.