ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) — Following a once-in-15 or 20-year tornado outbreak Monday evening, KXAN Chief Meteorologist David Yeomans rode in a helicopter early Tuesday to survey the damage paths across Central Texas.
Taking off from Creedmoor southeast of Austin, David and his crew cruised northward just 500 feet above Interstate 35 through downtown Austin toward Round Rock.
Arriving at I-35 and the State Highway 45 flyovers in Round Rock, the damage was apparent. In the same location where the First Warning Weather team showed you a tornado crossing I-35 live on television Monday evening, the awning of a commercial building was ripped apart and debris was strewn through the parking lot.
Traveling northeastward toward the Kalahari Resort, the damage was fairly continuous but ranged in severity from very minor at Kalahari to significant in some neighborhoods. While some homes were left untouched, others were missing their roof, their second story, or even their walls.
Open fields in Jonah showed signs of scouring — vague circular patterns that may have been drawn into the dirt by tornadic winds. A new subdivision under construction in that area featured wooden frames of soon-to-be houses shattered and littered in the wind like toothpicks.
Traveling southward to Elgin to a separate tornado track, our crew spotted the mobile homes that were destroyed on the east side of town. One of them was home to seven shift workers who thankfully woke up and ran to shelter next door just in time.
Following the track of that tornado southwestward toward Webberville, more outbuildings, carports and mobile homes were severely damaged or destroyed. Many permanent homes sustained minor roof damage or were left relatively untouched. A large metal power pole was twisted and crumpled on the ground — a potential sign of strong tornado damage.
These were just the paths of two of the five or more tornadoes that touched down Monday evening in Central Texas. It was a rare and significant tornado outbreak in Central Texas — especially for the month of March.