NWS: Williamson County tornado a wintry surprise
A rare January tornado touched down in Williamson County Friday, damaging buildings and catching some people by surprise. Texas sees most of its tornadoes in April, May and June, but the tornado that touched down near Walburg shows that winter does not put an end to tornadoes
“It was a very rare incident, to where the shear and the low level winds caused enough rotation,” said Jaren Allen, a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service office in New Braunfels. “For this morning's [tornado], it was very micro scale type of event that caused the very brief and weak tornado spin-up.”
After damage assessment, the tornado was rated an EF 0, with windspeeds between 65 and 85 miles per hour. It still tracked for about a mile, damaging 4 homes and 1 business. Along with the damage, it brought two surprises. One – the season. It’s winter. “We've only had 25 tornadoes in all of January going back to 1950,” said Allen. Winter tornadoes although rare, can be deadly. You may remember though -- the tornadoes that tore through the Dallas area the day after Christmas in 2015, killing 13 people.
The second surprise was the time of day. “This morning's one being at 9:33, was the sixth earliest one during the day of all the January tornadoes,” Allen said.
The CBS Austin Storm Team is now watching Sunday night, because there’s a chance we could see more tornadoes. “We're going to be looking at a pretty strong weather disturbance moving across west Texas, and that's really going to increase the wind speed, and that wind shear,” Allen said.