The National Weather Service in Midland conducted a damage survey on Thursday, May 26, to investigate storm damage associated with severe thunderstorms that impacted eastern portions of Loving County, early Thursday morning. After reviewing damage over the affected area in Loving County, it has been determined that this damage was caused by straight-line winds associated a bow echo line pattern of severe thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service in Midland issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning at
3:51 am for Loving County. High winds, estimated at 80 mph, affected northeast portions of Loving County by 4:05 am, with areas along Highway 302 experiencing severe wind damage at around 4:30 am. Major power outages in the Mentone area officially occurred at 4:31 am, 40 minutes after the severe thunderstorm warning was issued.
Twenty-six power poles in Loving County sustained damage along Highway 302. These poles were located from approximately ½ mile west of the Loving and Winkler county line, westward for almost 5 miles. Additionally, three oil field trailers, oriented normal to the impacting wind, were destroyed when high winds caused their rollover. Three injuries resulted from these trailer rollovers, with none of the injuries classified as being life-threatening.
While thunderstorms within the line did exhibit rotation as seen on WSR-88D radar imagery, there is overwhelming evidence, seen both on radar and also seen during the damage survey, that straight-line winds were the cause of the damage over Loving County.
It was also noted during the survey that trailers with some type of structure or obstacle directly to their north, as well as structures that were oriented parallel to the severe north northwest winds, were able to escape with minimal damage.
Preliminary damage estimates due to severe weather events in Loving County were determined to be in the $250,000 to $500,000 range.
For those needing additional information, please contact the National Weather Service in Midland at (432)563-5006.
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