CENTRAL TEXAS (FOX 44) – The National Weather Service’s Storm Survey determined an EF-0 tornado impacted eastern Bell County, near the town of Seaton.
The tornado damaged trees and damaged or destroyed homes with maximum winds of 75 mph. A tornado was visually confirmed by storm chasers, but only scattered broken tree branches were found. The first tree branches were found near the intersection of Seaton Road and Big Elm Creek, with additional branches found along rural roads. The tornado lifted over Twister Road shortly after crossing FM-437.
In addition, a tornado occurred over an inaccessible and undeveloped part of the Fort Hood military base in southern Coryell County on Tuesday afternoon.
Right now, the tornado’s EF rating is unknown. It covered nearly four miles. No known damage occurred with this tornado.
The NWS has also released information on a tornado in the Salado area, and the preliminary rating is EF-3. It had maximum winds around 165 mph, and was tracked across southern Bell County and into the Salado area on Tuesday evening.
This tornado began in Williamson County, but the track in Bell County is estimated to be nearly 13 miles long – with a duration of about 30 minutes. The tornado entered extreme southern Bell County north of the junction between Bell County Road 231 and FM-2843. In this area, there was a narrow swath of tree damage consistent with EF-0 intensity wind speeds, with some damage to outbuildings as well.
The tornado moved east northeast and intersected FM-2843, where the damage to trees and structures became much more significant. At least 15-20 damaged homes were visible to the survey team on both sides of FM-2843, with the most significant damage concentrated near the junction of FM-2843 and Buttermilk Road. In this vicinity, at least ten structures suffered EF-2 to EF-3 intensity damage, with a small cluster of homes experiencing estimated peak tornado wind speeds of 150 to 165 mph. These structures had all or most of their roofs removed, and some of them had one or more exterior walls collapsed.
Two churches along FM-2843 in the vicinity of Buttermilk Road were seriously damaged, with roofing material removed and multiple walls collapsed. Numerous vehicles in the area had significant damage consistent with being rolled or having flying projectiles thrown into them. Many hardwood trees along the FM-2843 corridor in the tornado path were uprooted or snapped, and many power poles were also snapped.
Beyond Buttermilk Road, the tornado continued traveling east-northeastward another 1.5 miles along FM-2843, then began a sharp turn to the northeast and eventually northerly direction. As the tornado veered away from FM-2843, the overall width and intensity of damage appeared to decrease, though a broad swath of tree damage was still evident. The tornado tracked north through open fields and snapped many trees along the way. It then crossed Crows Ranch Road and damaged aluminum panels of the roof of a home and blew in a panel garage door.
It continued over a ridge line, then intensified shortly before crossing FM-2484. It uprooted many large trees, shifted a large barn’s walls, lifted roof panels off a shed, and caused significant damage to a residence. The residence’s roof was almost entirely removed from the structure, and a section of the south facing wall was blown in. The east facing wall was completely blown out, all consistent with a high-end EF-2 rating in this location.
The tornado then continued northwest into the South Shore neighborhood, and then into Union Grove Park – where it lifted shortly after moving onto Stillhouse Hollow Lake.
Video evidence taken on the ground during the tornadic event, and aerial footage of the damage track show the parent circulation produced at least three small, brief tornadoes while the storm circulation was near and east of the county line. Scattered damage points and small paths are making it difficult to determine which
areas may have been impacted by each of these smaller tornadoes before the parent tornado formed.
Therefore, in the area just east of the Williamson/Bell County line, the damage extent of the tornadic track has been widened to include all the known damage points (all EF-0s or EF-1s). In this case, since it is too
difficult to discern the smaller tracks, and because they all formed from the same parent circulation within a short amount of time of each other, they will all be considered one tornado.
The maximum width listed will remain the maximum width of the parent tornado (the EF-3 tornado).
The Enhanced Fujita scale breaks tornadoes down by wind speed.
- EF-0 — 65 to 85 mph
- EF-1 — 86 to 110 mph
- EF-2 — 111 to 135 mph
- EF-3 — 136 to 165 mph
- EF-4 — 166 to 200 mph
- EF-5 — 201 and above