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Destructive tornadoes hit Texas and Oklahoma, U.S.

Several destructive tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma on March 21 and 22, 2022, during a violent severe weather outbreak that’s now shifting east. One person was killed and more than a dozen injured. The Storm Prediction Center has so far confirmed 19 tornadoes in Texas and one on the Texas – Oklahoma border on March 21.

Severe weather outbreak is shifting across the Lower Mississippi Valley and the central Gulf Coast States today, March 22, with some threats continuing into tonight. Tornadoes, some of which should be strong, and potentially widespread damaging winds will be the most impactful hazards, NWS warns. Excessive rainfall with training storm cells will bring the threat for flash, urban, and river flooding.1

Several tornadoes were reported along the Interstate 35 corridor on March 21, particularly in the Austin suburbs of Round Rock and Elgin, and close to Dallas-Fort Worth. Two unconfirmed tornadoes caused damage in the Lake Texoma area of northern Texas and southern Oklahoma.2

The first significant tornado touched down just after 16:00 LT near Jacksboro, northwest of Fort Worth, Texas.3 It ripped through Jacksboro High School and caused some damage to the elementary school.

The extent of debris closed several roads and a local hospital. Several other buildings and at least 60 homes were damaged.

City manager Bert Cunningham said the worst damage was east of the town, with as many as four entrapments reported. Four people suffered minor injuries, Emergency Manager Kelly McNabb told the Associated Press.

Grayson County Office of Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers said a 73-year-old woman died when the tornado hit the community of Sherwood Shores, TX.2 Ten other storm-related injuries have been reported in the county about 145 km (90 miles) north of Dallas and near the state’s border with Oklahoma.

Another tornado touched down near Round Rock, TX – one of the worst affected areas by a violent outburst of severe weather yesterday. The twister was caught on several local television cameras, including the KVUE Kalahari camera which took a direct hit:

The tornado turned multiple cars, destroyed roofs of numerous homes and businesses.

Powerlines were downed east of Austin and at least one home was destroyed near Elgin. Local media reported three injuries and three rescued by the city’s police chief.

A preliminary EF-2 tornado stcuk Kingston, Oklahoma, just north of the Texas border. Much of the damage appears east of the city on State Highway 70. Damage was reported at the Buncombe Creek Resort Marina at Lake Texoma, too.4

More than 70 000 customers were without power early morning March 22. As of 16:30 UTC, 40 864 customers in Texas are without power and another 17 628 in Louisiana.

A robust spring storm currently in the southern Plains will continue the threat for unsettled weather across the central U.S. and Midwest on Tuesday, and into the East by Wednesday, NWS forecaster Santorelli noted.5

A deep surge of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico interacting with favorable dynamics both at the surface and aloft helped fuel widespread heavy rainfall and severe thunderstorms across eastern Texas into the lower Mississippi Valley overnight, which should steadily press eastward into the central Gulf Coast and Tennessee Valley states today.

Rainfall totals of 75 – 130 mm (3 – 5 inches), with locally higher amounts, are forecast in this region through Tuesday night, contributing to numerous and potentially significant flash flooding.

WPC has highlighted parts of the lower Mississippi Valley into Mississippi and Alabama within a moderate risk for excessive rainfall.

At the same time, SPC continues to highlight an enhanced to moderate risk for severe weather across roughly the same region, with storms capable of producing strong tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds.

References:

1 National Weather Service – March 22, 2022

2 1 killed, 10 injured after tornado hits north Texas county – AP

3 Tornadoes Rip Through Texas and Oklahoma; 1 Death Confirmed – TWC

4 Kingston, Oklahoma, Hit By Tornado; Damage Reported – News9

5 Short Range Forecast Discussion NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD 347 AM EDT Tue Mar 22 2022

Featured image credit: Live Storms Media

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