KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | Aggieland News

Texas A&M Climatologist Visits With News 3 On Tornado Dangers


The winds from the tornado in Granbury are believed to have topped 200 miles-an-hour.

These more destructive tornadoes are very rare for Texas.

News 3's Clay Falls surveyed the scene in Granbury Thursday and wanted to investigate the tornado season danger.

News 3 saw complete devastation while in Granbury.

With estimated winds at nearly 200 miles-an-hour both small to huge homes were completely destroyed.

Friday we spoke with a Texas A&M Climatologist to get a better understanding of why these storms are so dangerous.

It's hard to find a safe place to hide when a monster tornado comes barreling your way.

That's what happened to hundreds of people Wednesday night in the North Texas town of Granbury where an EF 4 tornado brought horrific 200 mile-per-hour winds.

"In the case of an EF 4, EF 5 tornado for the most part you are going to see complete destruction," said Brent McRoberts, who is a Texas A&M Research Assistant for Atmospheric Sciences.

"About less than two percent of all tornadoes reach that strength but they are the deadliest type of tornadoes," he said.

The four men and two women who died in the Granbury storm were found inside and outside of homes.

Early warnings are credited with keeping the death toll from being higher.

"Sometimes the strongest tornadoes will actually have what's called multiple vortices which is you have essentially mini tornadoes inside a giant swirling debris cloud. So I'm not sure if that's the case in Granbury," McRoberts said.

Wind tunnels at Texas Tech University even test building materials with tornado-force wind simulations to make structures stronger.

"Definitely the safest place is to be in the interior of a house," said McRoberts.

And as tragic was the destruction seen this week in North Texas, tornadoes can get even stronger.

The highest tornado wind speed ever recorded was 318 miles-per-hour in Moore, Oklahoma in May 1999.

Texas A&M University also has five wind tunnels they use for aircraft testing and weather experiments.

Bryan and College Station do not have tornado sirens.

The reasons for that include the costs of maintenance, and that tornadoes are not as common around here.


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