Fayette County tornado from May 18 ranked as EF-1 intensity

Weather Blog

(KXAN) — National Weather Service meteorologists have conducted an exhaustive damage survey of the reported Fayette County tornado near Swiss Alp on May 18.

Through storm chaser reports and video, property owner photos and interviews, and extensive review of radar data, they determined the tornado was four football fields wide, EF-1 intensity with 100 mph winds, and on the ground for more than 3 miles.

Tornado damage (Tami Sladek/Fayette County)

Read the full NWS report below.

...NWS DAMAGE SURVEY FOR 05/18/2021 TORNADO EVENT...

.FAYETTE COUNTY - SWISS ALP TORNADO...

RATING:                 EF1
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND:    100 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/:  3.34 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/:   400.0 YARDS
FATALITIES:             0
INJURIES:               0

START DATE:             05/18/2021
START TIME:             06:42 PM CDT
START LOCATION:         5 N SCHULENBURG / FAYETTE COUNTY / TX
START LAT/LON:          29.7593 / -96.9186

END DATE:               05/18/2021
END TIME:               06:52 PM CDT
END LOCATION:           7 NNE SCHULENBURG / FAYETTE COUNTY / TX
END LAT/LON:            29.79 / -96.8772

SURVEY SUMMARY:
THE COMBINATION OF A NWS DAMAGE SURVEY AND STORM CHASER
VIDEO/DOCUMENTATION HAS CONCLUDED THAT AN EF1 TORNADO OCCURRED DURING
THE EARLY EVENING HOURS OF MAY 18TH NEAR SWISS ALP TX IN FAYETTE
COUNTY.  THE TORNADO OCCURRED IN A LARGE CLUSTER OF STORMS THAT WERE
GENERALLY MOVING EAST ACROSS FAYETTE COUNTY.  THERE WERE MULTIPLE MID
LEVEL CIRCULATIONS EVIDENT ON RADAR DURING THIS EVENT.  SO WHILE A
SINGLE TORNADO PATH HAS BEEN CREATED, THERE MAY HAVE BEEN OTHER
SMALLER SATELLITE TORNADOES OR VORTICES THAT CAUSED MINOR WIND DAMAGE
IN OTHER AREAS OF FAYETTE COUNTY THAT EVENING.   STORM CHASER VIDEO
DID SHOW A MULTI-VORTEX TORNADO ON THE GROUND NEAR SWISS ALP AND THIS
DISCUSSION IS THE BEST CONCLUSION WE HAVE ON THE PATH, WIDTH AND
STRENGTH OF THAT TORNADO.

BASED ON VIDEO, STORM REPORTS, AND TREE DAMAGE, IT APPEARS THE
TORNADO FIRST TOUCHED DOWN AROUND 642 PM IN THE EVENING JUST WEST OF
HIGHWAY 77... NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF HIGHWAY 77 AND CR 956.   SOME
MINOR TREE DAMAGE WAS FOUND IN THIS AREA AS WELL AS POWER POLES
SNAPPED ON HIGHWAY 77.  AS THE TORNADO CROSSED HIGHWAY 77, IT BECAME
LARGER AND MULTI-VORTEX AS IT MOVED NORTHEAST ACROSS OPEN PASTURE AND
FARMLAND.  AT APPROXIMATELY 648 PM IT CAUSED SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO A
CATTLE FARM APPROXIMATELY 1 MILE SOUTH OF FM 1383.  METAL ROOFING WAS
REMOVED FROM MULTIPLE CATTLE SHADE SHELTERS, THERE WAS ROOF DAMAGE TO
THE BUSINESS OFFICE, AND PARTIAL STRUCTURE COLLAPSE AND ROOF DAMAGE
TO THE MAIN COVERED BUILDING, AND CATTLE WORKING AREA.  SEVERAL TREES
HAD SIGNIFICANT TRUNK AND BRANCH DAMAGE ON THE PROPERTY AS WELL. 
METAL ROOFING MATERIAL WAS FOUND SEVERAL HUNDRED YARDS AWAY.

THE TORNADO CONTINUED TO MOVE NORTHEAST AND EVENTUALLY CROSSED BERGER
ROAD.  SEVERAL TREES WERE SNAPPED ALONG BERGER ROAD AND ADJACENT
PROPERTIES. IT IS NOT TOTALLY CLEAR WHERE THE TORNADO DISSIPATED AS
SOME SPORADIC/MINOR TREE DAMAGE CAN BE FOUND FARTHER NE BY ABOUT A
MILE.  DUE TO THE WEAK NATURE OF THE DAMAGE, IT WAS ELECTED TO END
THE TRACK JUST EAST OF BERGER ROAD AT 652 PM.  BASED ON THE DAMAGE
SEEN ON THE GROUND, IT IS ESTIMATED THAT PEAK WINDS WERE NEAR 100 MPH
(EF1) AND THE TORNADO WAS SEVERAL HUNDRED YARDS WIDE WHEN IT WAS
MULTI-VORTEX.  IT WAS ON THE GROUND FOR A LITTLE OVER 3 MILES.

&&

EF SCALE: THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES TORNADOES INTO THE
FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

EF0...WEAK......65 TO 85 MPH
EF1...WEAK......86 TO 110 MPH
EF2...STRONG....111 TO 135 MPH
EF3...STRONG....136 TO 165 MPH
EF4...VIOLENT...166 TO 200 MPH
EF5...VIOLENT...>200 MPH

NOTE:
THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO
CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT AND PUBLICATION IN NWS
STORM DATA.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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