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Texas Is Tornado Capital

1997 tornado in Jarrell

Three funnels can be seen as a tornado touches down near Jarrell in Williamson County on May 27, 1997. The tornado claimed 27 lives. Photo by Scott Beckwith.

 

An average of 132 tornadoes touch Texas soil each year. The annual total varies considerably, and certain areas are struck more often than others. Tornadoes occur with greatest frequency in the Red River Valley of North Texas.

Tornadoes may occur in any month and at any hour of the day, but they occur with greatest frequency during the late spring and early summer months, and between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. 

In the period 1951–2011, nearly 62.7 percent of all Texas tornadoes occurred within the three-month period of April, May, and June, with almost one-third of the total tornadoes occurring in May.

More tornadoes have been recorded in Texas than in any other state, which is partly due to the state's size. 

Between 1951 and 2011, 8,007 funnel clouds reached the ground, thus becoming tornadoes. Texas ranks 11th among the 50 states in the density of tornadoes, with an average of 5.7 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles per year during this period.

The greatest outbreak of tornadoes on record in Texas was associated with Hurricane Beulah in September 1967. Within a five-day period, Sept. 19–23, 115 known tornadoes, all in Texas, were spawned by this great hurricane. Sixty-seven occurred on Sept. 20, a Texas record for a single day.

In addition to Hurricane Beulah's 115 tornadoes, there were another 9 tornadoes in September for a total of 124, which is a Texas record for a single month. 

The greatest number of tornadoes in Texas in a single year is 232, also in 1967. The second-highest number in a single year is 1995, when 223 tornadoes occurred in Texas. 

In 1982, there were 123 tornadoes formed in May, making it the worst outbreak of spring tornadoes in Texas. On average, May has the highest number of tornadoes per month with 39.38. January has the lowest average with 2.33.

A rare winter tornado outbreak occurred on Dec. 29, 2006. There were 27 tornadoes on this day, which is the largest monthly total for December. On average, December has 3.12 tornadoes. 

 

 

Texas Almanac

Texas Almanac