A team of National Weather Service meteorologists surveyed damage along three tornado paths in southern Borden and northern Howard Counties. A large amount of eye-witness video has been submitted, and this imagery will be correlated to survey results and radar data before final determinations about the storm's evolution are made. Up to four separate tornadoes are thought to have touched down in the area Sunday evening. Preliminary results indicate one of the tornadoes was a strong multiple vortex tornado with a path width of three-quarters of a mile.
The most significant tornado developed along Farm to Market Road 1785 in southern Borden County around 7:20 PM CDT. This storm first damaged mesquite trees along the farm road five miles west-southwest of Lake J.B. Thomas, or seventeen miles south-southeast of Gail. Local residents described witnessing a multiple vortex structure as the tornado slowly moved southwestward across open farm and range land. Damage to mesquite thickets and fences in the area support these observations. The damage path in rural areas of Borden County measured up to three-quarters of a mile wide.
This long-lived tornado crossed into northern Howard County around 7:45 PM CDT seven miles northeast of Luther. As the tornado crossed County Road 41, just inside Howard County, the path width decreased to 250 yards. Damage intensity in this area increased dramatically. 300 round bails of hay weighing 2,000 pounds each were blown apart and deposited as individual straws of hay in the adjacent field. An expansive mesquite thicket was shredded with trees partially debarked and were reduced to trunks only a few feet above the ground. Small chunks of pavement measuring up to five inches in diameter were deposited up to a quarter of a mile downwind. An empty railroad boxcar was rolled, and debris was blown one mile down the tornadoes path after becoming airborne. The tornado dissipated after traveling about two miles into northern Howard County.
Map of tornado paths in southern Borden County and northern Howard County.
F0 tornado near Lake J.B. Thomas as viewed from Colorado City around 6:30 PM CDT. Photo courtesy of Rick Goodney – Colorado City Fire Department.
National Weather Service Doppler radar image of the tornadic storm in southern Borden County at 6:31 PM CDT, during the tornado pictured above.
A 250 yard wide path caused by a strong (F2) tornado through a field of mesquite trees west of County Road 41 in northern Howard County. Trees were partially stripped of bark and were reduced to stumps standing only a few feet above the ground.
National Weather Service meteorologist Seth Nagle holding a piece of pavement among shredded mesquite trees and hay bails near County Road 41 in northern Howard County.
3/10/2009 - Colder Weather Beginning Tomorrow
3/7/2009 - Wind and Fire Concerns Continue Saturday
3/5/2009 - Critical Fire Weather through Saturday
2/26/2009 - Critical Fire Weather Continues
2/25/2009 - Critical Fire Weather Concerns Continue
2/25/2009 - Critical Fire Weather Through Thursday
2/24/2009 - Fire weather concerns remain high
2/24/2009 - Fire Concerns Continue Today
2/23/2009 - Critical Fire Weather Conditions Tuesday
2/23/2009 - Severe Weather Awareness Week