Tornadoes strike the western South Plains and southwest Texas Panhandle
***PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS REPORT IS PRELIMINARY, WE WILL UPDATE IT AS WE RECEIVE MORE DETAILED INFORMATION. THE NUMBER OF TORNADOES AND TORNADO RATINGS MAY CHANGE***
A powerful upper level storm system moving across New Mexico spawned several tornadic thunderstorms from eastern New Mexico into the southwest Panhandle and western South Plains of West Texas Friday night and early Saturday morning, March 23-24. Wind damage was reported across Parmer, Cochran, Bailey and Lamb counties. Saturday afternoon, a team from the Lubbock National Weather Service went to survey the damage. They found damage consistent with tornadoes in several locations. The approximate path of the survey team is pictured below (click on image to enlarge).
To view the preliminary local storm reports from the event click HERE.
The team surveyed tornado tracks: A short EF-1 track approximately 7 miles sw of Morton that damaged a cotton gin...a path of 1.25 miles (length) west of Morton that damaged another cotton gin. Damage to the cotton gin and power poles supported an EF-2 rating there. There was some thunderstorm wind damage in Enochs. 1 home lost about half of the roof and a few other structures had tin roofs pulled back. Then a narrow path of intermittent damage occurred from Bovina to about 1.5 miles north of Bovina. A home lost a roof and several sustained damage to windows, trees, and car ports. This appeared to be consistent with a weak EF-0 tornado. There was additional damage surveyed between Friona and Black. This consisted of 3 downed grain silos and light damage to a few mobile homes. At this time, it is believed this damage likely resulted from thunderstorm winds.
Additionally, reports during the event indicate that a brief tornado may have occurred just south of Farwell. Local officials have found no damage, but an official we spoke to reported seeing at least a funnel in the same area. Thus it appears the tornado reported in the LSRs south of Farwell will likely be retained, making a preliminary tornado count of 4 for our area as of this writing.
Some more pictures from the damage survey (click to enlarge)...
Some of the damage in Bovina, TX (pictures taken by Jody James, NWS Lubbock)