Severe Thunderstorm Wind Event - June 5/6

On the evening of Wednesday, June 5, thunderstorms developed over portions of eastern New Mexico and the Texas South Plains. These storms moved southeastward into the Texas Permian Basin late Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning.

Reflectivity Radar Image from 0423Z on 6/6/13

The complex of thunderstorms produced damaging winds across the Permian Basin. The following map shows the peak wind gusts at particular locations across the area.


Map of peak wind gusts

Numerous reports of damage due to the severe winds occurred in Gaines County. At the Seminole fire station, severe northwest winds bent a 60 foot tri-section radio antenna over to the southeast onto nearby electrical running parallel to 2nd Street. In addition, vehicles parked on the southeast side of the fire department sustained damage.

Seminole Fire Department Antenna

At the Seminole football field, large metal covers for the long jump pits were torn free from their ground anchors. Wind carried one of these as far as two blocks away through chain link fences, before finally knocking down a light pole. The following are before and after pictures of these covers. (Images courtesy of Keith Lambert)

Long Jump Pit Cover

Damaged Long Jump Pit Cover

Additional damage in Gaines County occurred approximately 15 miles west of Seminole where a portion of a mobile home along Highway 62/180 was blown over and destroyed. Portions of the mobile home were blown into vehicle traffic along the highway.

Other notable damage occurred at Midland International Airport where 3 newly built hangers sustained damaged. While two of these hangers had minimal damage, a third hanger sustained significant roof damage. The following images show that damage.  The first image courtesy of Midland International Airport.

Damaged Midland Hanger

Midland Airport Hanger Damage

Primary indications are that this hanger had its northwest-facing doors open. This allowed for northwest winds to enter the building and lift the roofing material upward, causing significant damage.

There is a distinct possibility that winds speeds were locally enhanced near this hanger due to its position in relation to the two other hangers directly upwind to the northwest.

Birdseye view of hanger location - old picture

The NWS uses a variety of damage indicators to estimate tornado wind speeds. While this event was a straight line wind event, use of the damage indicator for metal building systems with inward or outward collapsed overhead doors would have yielded a wind estimate in excess of 75 mph.

Midland hanger damage


Based on the degree of damage to the overhead doors, estimated wind speeds in the 75 to 85 mph range are reasonable. This estimate is well above the measured winds at nearby observation sites. However, locally enhanced wind speeds likely occurred as northwest winds were funnelled between the two upsteam hangers.

Reports from Borden County indicated that a smaller airplace hander (approximately 35'x20') was destroyed 1 mile south of Gail. In Scurry County, approximately 12 power poles were snapped along Highway 180 just east of the intersection with U.S. Highway 84 near Snyder. Homes in portions of Snyder sustained minor shingle damage, consistent with the 72 mph wind measured at the TTU Mesonet site located 3 miles east of Snyder. In addition, wind driven hail in the community of Hermleigh, located southeast of Snyder, broke out windows in residential homes and produced significant hail damage to vehicles.

Overall, wind speeds were generally in the 55 to 70 mph range. Midland International Airport measured a 62 mph at their observation site, while the TTU mesonet site 5 miles southwest of St. Lawrence in Glasscock County had a measured gust of 68 mph. The TTU mesonet site located 3WNW of Fluvanna in northwest portions of Scurry County reported a 70 mph gust.












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