UPDATED: MARCH 07, 2023 | 3 MIN READ
Texas has more tornadoes than any other state, with an annual average of 135. So it’s not surprising that tornado season in Texas can be stressful. Use this guide to help you learn everything you need to know about tornado activity in the Lone Star state, plus how home insurance can help you rebuild after a disaster strikes.
What is Texas tornado season?
Texas tornado season is a term for a specific time of year when tornado activity is most likely for Texans. Typically, tornado months in Texas run between April and June. Tornadoes can occur at any time, but these months bring the conditions most susceptible to them.
Tornadoes appear as violent, twisting columns of air from severe thunderstorms touching the ground. These twisters threaten property and living beings, including humans, pets, and livestock.
Texas sits In Tornado Alley, the region where tornadoes appear most frequently. Parts of several states lie in Tornado Alley, including:
Meteorologists use this term loosely, and the National Weather Service (NWS) doesn’t define the boundaries or definition of Tornado Alley.
Tornado watches and tornado warnings
Weather alerts called watches and warnings by the NWS let Texans know when a tornado is near or may appear. The NWS and local officials issue a tornado watch when conditions are favorable for a twister, such as during a severe storm. The watch lets residents know one may be possible and applies to a broad area. A tornado warning is for a specific area when one appears on weather radar or is visible.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) includes the NWS and monitors all ongoing weather throughout the United States with a Storm Prediction Map.
The Enhanced Fujita Scale and tornado season in TX
In the United States, tornado wind strength relies on the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale) to estimate tornado damage. The NWS assigns each tornado a rating, with 65 to 85 MPH for EF0 tornadoes and EF5 for twisters over 200 MPH.
The history of tornado season in Texas
Texas weather records include several devastating tornadoes. In May 1953, an outbreak formed in Minnesota and Texas, with multiple twisters. One of the most deadly formations touched down in Waco, killing 114 people and injuring dozens. An EF5, it’s still one of the deadliest tornadoes in the state’s history.
The 1957 tornado in Dallas also has a place in the state’s history books because it was one of the first extensively studied and photographed tornadoes. The F3 twister touched down in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, killing ten people and injuring 200 during its 45-minute rampage.
Weather experts and scientists now better understand a tornado’s path, how it affects buildings, and other severe weather elements, thanks to over 125 people’s pictures of the twister.
Where do Texas tornadoes hit the most?
Houston sees more tornadoes than any other Texas city. The city saw over 240 tornadoes touchdown between 1950 and 2021.
The Plainview area comes in second. It had more than 130 tornadoes between 1950 and 2021.
Threats in Texas tornado season
Texas tornado season threatens a property’s doors, windows, and other structures. The tornado may toss vehicles, rip off shingles and other home elements, and send debris flying.
Wind speeds easily uproot trees and, if an EF5, can even split the sidewalk, so it’s not surprising to hear home insurance claims drastically increase after a twister touches down.
The 1953 Waco tornado destroyed 600 businesses and homes, including a six-story furniture store. The destruction from a twister’s damaging winds can be swift and brutal as it rockets through the area, so it’s essential to ensure your Texas home insurance policy covers wind-based damage.
If a tornado is in the area, it’s essential to move to the lowest floor of your home or building, if possible. You should move away from all windows and glass, but if that’s not possible, shield yourself with a towel or blanket after getting under something heavy.
Does Texas homeowners insurance cover tornado damage?
Homeowners insurance in Texas covers tornado damage. This includes any damage caused by high winds, hail, and rain seen during a tornado.
However, home policies don’t cover flood damage. So if tornado damage causes flooding, the damage caused by the rising water isn’t covered. You’d need a separate flood insurance policy for that.
When is tornado season in Dallas, Texas?
Tornado season in Dallas, Texas, typically runs from March through June, with the peak occurring in April and May.
During this time, warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico collides with cooler, drier air from the north and west, creating the conditions necessary for the formation of tornadoes.
Where do tornadoes mostly hit in Texas?
Galveston County sees the most tornadoes. Between 1954 and 2000, every Texas county saw at least one tornado. Houston sees the most tornadoes, with 242 recorded from 1953 to 2021.
What part of Texas is in Tornado Alley?
The western part of Texas is in Tornado Alley, but Red River Valley Gorge, in North Texas, also sees frequent tornadoes. Weather experts say Tornado Alley shows signs of a shift to the east, but Texas is still within its boundaries.
Does Texas have a tornado season?
Yes. Texas has a tornado season. It runs from April through June. Tornadoes may form in Texas anytime, but this period features the most vulnerable conditions.
What months are tornadoes most active?
The months of April, May, and June show the most tornado activity. According to historical data, May is the most active month and can average nearly 300 tornadoes yearly.
What are the warning signs of a tornado?
Tornadoes feature several warning signs. Clouds may seem to rush while the sky turns a dark green or grey hue. You may see a funnel cloud dip down from a severe thunderstorm or see a debris cloud. The sound of a tornado is similar to a passing freight train, with a deep and loud rumble. If you hear this sound, take cover immediately.
What makes tornadoes more likely to form?
Tornadoes are more likely to form in a climate with dry, cool air merging with warm moist air. The spring severe weather season offers ideal conditions for tornado formations.
What is the average number of tornadoes per year?
An average year includes 1,333 tornadoes. The year 2021 saw 1,313 confirmed tornadoes.
What is the average tornado season length in Texas?
Texas’s average tornado season length is three months and spans from April to June.
What is the least populated area in Texas?
Loving County features the smallest population in Texas at just 64 people and is also the least-populated area in the United States.
What is the highest risk for tornadoes in Texas?
Mobile homes, businesses, and traditional houses are at risk for destruction in Texas during a tornado. High wind speeds may turn cars and debris, such as home siding, into projectiles.
What is the biggest threat of tornadoes?
Tornadoes can reach speeds over 200 MPH, which makes flying debris the most significant threat to a tornado. Debris, such as tree branches, fencing, broken glass, and other objects, could potentially maim or kill someone in its path.
Get home insurance for tornado season in Texas
Severe weather and tornadoes have the potential to destroy your home, especially during Tornado season in Texas. If a disaster happens, know that you’re protected with a comprehensive home insurance policy so you can rebuild. Get several quotes to compare rates and coverage to ensure you have the right windstorm insurance.