Hundreds of families have been displaced after an EF-1 tornado swept through Texas City at 18:13 CST on January 6, 2021 (00:13 UTC, January 7). Residents described the storm as 'quick and horrifying.'
The National Weather Service (NWS) Houston placed the tornado on the higher end of EF-1 rating with maximum sustained wind speeds likely around 175 km/h (110 mph). This is still preliminary data and subject to change pending final review.
The tornado was on the ground for about 1 minute, it had a path of 1.1 km (0.7 miles) and a maximum path width of 45 m (50 yards).
"The most significant damage was to a convenience store near that intersection and the adjacent Tradewinds Apartments complex," NWS meteorologist Dan Reilly noted.
A clear relatively narrow path was seen in the severe damage.
Although most debris was pushed toward the east dirt and insulation was found splattered on all sides of many structures including the east downwind side.
Damage at a business on 6th street north was also surveyed.
"The business had a large part of their roof removed with the resulting debris spread across the road to its east and across the road. There was no obvious path around this area. At this time leaning toward straight-line winds for this area but still gathering data. Could have possibly been a brief touchdown," Rilley explained.
According to Texas City officials, all 129 units at the Tradewinds would have to be evacuated until engineers and building inspectors could confirm that all of the buildings were structurally sound.
Residents described the storm as 'quick and horrifying.'
"It sounded like a freight train coming thru and by the time I tried to get the door shut, it was sucking me out the door," one of the residents told Click2Houston. "My son had to grab me and pull me back in and stuff was flying, glass shattering and people were screaming."
No one was injured.
Featured image credit: KHOU11