Just after 5 PM, a tornado touched down in Hebbronville, flipping a tractor trailer, uprooting trees and snapping large limbs, and causing a gas leak. The twister knocked out power to at least 1762 AEP Power customers, more than half of the town. The tornado formed along a remnant shear axis left behind after Hurricane Alex dissipated in Mexico. The oppressive humidity combined with just enough daytime heating and mixing with turning winds in the low and mid levels of the atmosphere likely contributed to the development of the mini supercell which dropped the tornado.
A preliminary assessment of damage sustained on July 2nd in Hebbronville indicated areas of EF-1 (EF-1 defined as 85 to 105 mph range, in general) damage occurred in the central and southeast side of town into the center of town, weakening to EF-0 from the center of town to points northwest, including areas around Hebbronville High School.
The tornado formed to the southeast of the town between 450 and 5 pm. The storm crossed State Highway 285 about 1/2 mile east of the intersection with State Highway 16, and entered a Texas Department of Transportation maintenance yard, tearing a section off a roof and collapsing a section of a metal parking area. It continued to the north- northwest into a residential area, taking the roof off one modular home, snapping several power poles, rolling a mobile home onto its roof, and damaging numerous mesquite trees. The tornado continued moving northwest toward downtown and knocked down numerous power lines, then struck a grocery store and blew a billboard onto a few parked cars. A loaded tractor trailer was rolled onto its roof and against the grocery store. The tornado then moved north- northwest, causing lesser tree damage along Maria and Frans Avenues. The weakening tornado crossed over a school, with no notable damage. It then moved by Hebbronville High School’s Gruy stadium, bending a goalpost and knocking over some fencing at tennis courts just west of the school campus. The tornado then lifted, with no damage noted beyond this location.
Considerable damage was rated EF-1 from the southeast side of Hebbronville until reaching downtown, with wind speeds of 90 to 100 mph. EF-0 damage (generally defined as below 85 mph) was seen from northwest of downtown to the area around the high school.
Click here for more information on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
The image below shows the best approximation of storm track. Click here for a photo gallery. Check back here for additional updates.