National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
News Headlines

Chances for showers and thunderstorms will increase through the middle of the week, but the heaviest rain is expected to remain across West Texas. North and Central Texas will experience periodic showers and storms from Tuesday through Thursday.
Temperatures will begin to feel more like fall next week as a cold front moves into North and Central Texas. Along with the rain, temperatures will cool substantially with highs in the 70s and low 80s by Friday.

 
Text Product Selector (Selected product opens in current window)
Latest Text Products Issued (Experimental)
Safe Rooms Icon Cooperatirve Rainfall (CoCoRaHs) icon Storm Ready Icon AirNow Icon

April 29, 2017 East Texas Tornado Event

 

Quick
Facts
The
Environment
Satellite
Presentation
Radar
Presentation
NWS Fort Worth
Product Archive
Confirmed
Tornadoes
North & Central Texas
April Tornado Climatology
Tornado
Damage Pictures
Tornado Tracks
and Success Stories

 

 

Quick Facts

  • A total of tornadoes have been confirmed thus far across Henderson, Hopkins, Rains and Van Zandt counties. 
  • The long track Eustace to West Canton tornado has been rated EF-4 (180 M.P.H. winds). 
  • The EF-4 tornado in Van Zandt County was the highest rated tornado in the county since 1950.
  • An additional long track tornado (near Steve Creek in southern Van Zandt County to Canton to Emory) has been rated EF-3 (145 M.P.H. winds)
  • 4 additional tornadoes occurred in Van Zandt County on this day.
  • This results in a total of 6 tornadoes in Van Zandt County which sets a record for most number of tornadoes in a calendar day for Van Zandt since 1950.
  • 1 brief tornado was observed in Hopkins County near the community of Miller Grove, just south of Cumby.
  • There were a total of 4 direct fatalities along with numerous injuries suffered during the April 29, 2017, East Texas Tornado Event.

Click here to return to the top of the page


 

The Environment

 

NWS Fort Worth, TX, and NWS Shreveport, LA    Observed Upper Air Data
 

1800 UTC (1 P.M.) Special Weather Balloon release from NWS Fort Worth
1800 UTC (1 P.M.) Special Weather Balloon release from NWS Fort Worth

2000 UTC (3 P.M.) Special Weather Balloon release from NWS Shreveport
2000 UTC (3 P.M.) Special Weather Balloon release from NWS Shreveport
0000 UTC (7 P.M.) Special Weather Balloon release from NWS Shreveport
0000 UTC (7 P.M.) Special Weather Balloon release from NWS Shreveport
Click on any of the above thumbnails for a larger image (opens in new window)
 

Special and routine upper air observations were taken at National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Fort Worth, TX, and Shreveport, LA, in support of severe weather forecasting operations. The NWS Fort Worth office released a special 1800 UTC (1:00 P.M.) weather balloon as seen in the far left image above. The upper data seen in the far left image above indicated that a capping inversion, while weakening, was still present across North Texas. Instability above this inversion was computed at around 2300 J/kg. Deep layer shear (0 to 6 km) was noted just above 45 knots.  The combination of instability and deep layer shear fostered organized storm modes including supercell storm structures.  Farther to the east in Shreveport, LA, a special upper air observation was taken at 2000 UTC (3:00 P.M.) as seen in the center figure above.  It’s possible that some contamination from nearby storms occurred based on archived radar imagery (not shown) as deep layer shear and instability appear on the low side. The 0000 UTC (7:00 P.M.) routine upper air observation from Shreveport, LA, as seen in the far right image above revealed a good amount of instability coupled with a large amount of deep layer shear. Specifically, a large degree of low level shear, manifest in the large curved hodograph, likely resulted in an environment favorable for rotating storms.

Southern Plains Surface Analysis
 
1000 CDT Regional Surface Analysis
1000 CDT Regional Surface Analysis
1300 CDT Regional Surface Analysis
1300 CDT Regional Surface Analysis
 
1600 CDT Regional Surface Analysis
1600 CDT Regional Surface Analysis
1900 CDT Regional Surface Analysis
1900 CDT Regional Surface Analysis
Click on any of the above thumbnails for a larger image (opens in new window)

 

Objective surface analysis from the Weather Prediction Center (WPC) indicated that a cold front extended from near the Red River southward along the I-35 corridor down into the Hill Country. With time, this frontal boundary slowly moved eastward through the DFW Metroplex and Waco. Ahead of this boundary, low level moisture, as indicated by the low to mid 70 degree dewpoint air, surged northward. Coincidentally, surface winds across east Texas back towards the southeast near 2100 UTC (4:00 P.M.) as well which likely increased storm relative helicity, another favorable factor for low level storms. Around 0000 UTC (7:00 P.M.), the WPC denoted some sort of mesoscale boundary (perhaps outflow) in the vicinity of the I-20 corridor. This also likely aided in low level mesocyclogenesis and could be a plausible reason for efficient tornadogenesis that was observed during the afternoon and evening hours on April 29, 2017. This was evidenced by the impressive radar signatures that were observed, even at 80-100 nautical miles from both the NWS Fort Worth Radar located at the Fort Worth Spinks Airport and NWS Shreveport Radar located at the Shreveport Municipal Airport.

 
 
Storm Prediction Center Day 1 Convective Outlooks
 
0600 UTC (1 A.M.) SPC Day 1 Convective Outlook
0600 UTC (1:00 A.M.)
SPC Day 1 Convective Outlook
1630 UTC (11:30 A.M.) SPC Day 1 Convective Outlook
1630 UTC (11:30 A.M)
SPC Day 1 Convective Outlook
2000 UTC (3 P.M.) SPC Day 1 Convective Outlook
2000 UTC (3:00 P.M.)
SPC Day 1 Convective Outlook
Click on any of the above thumbnails for a larger image (opens in new window)

 

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) continued to highlight the potential for a good coverage of strong to severe thunderstorms in their Severe Weather Outlooks (SWOs). The eastern half of the NWS Fort Worth County Warning Area (CWA) had been placed beneath an “Enhanced” Risk for severe thunderstorms. The progression of the day 1 severe weather outlook (SWODY1) can be examined in the images above.

Click here to return to the top of the page


 

Satellite Presentation

 

Visible & Infrared Satellite Imagery
 
Visible Satellite Imagery
Visible Satellite Imagery
Infrared Satellite Imagery
Infrared Satellite Imagery
Click on any of the above thumbnails for an animated gif of satellite imagery on the afternoon of April 29, 2017
(opens in new window)

 

Satellite imagery on the afternoon of April 29, 2017, indicated that much of North, Central and East TX were all entrenched in widespread cloudiness. This cloudiness gradually decayed through the day as heating occurred. One feature of note was a small cluster of thunderstorms across the Sabine River Valley. While this complex of storms decayed through the afternoon, there appears to be a ring of cumuliform clouds that actually traveled slowly towards the west. Convergence and heating along the front, resulted in the development of deep convection along the I-35 corridor. As the animation plays, however, there appears to be a zone of convergence across East TX. It would appear reasonable that new convection developed quickly. As mentioned above, surface winds were starting to back towards the southeast, and these storms became severe rather quickly.

The IR imagery indicates very cold cloud tops indicative of strong and robust updrafts, which supports severe thunderstorms. Through the evening, convection marches eastward out of the NWS Fort Worth CWA.

 

Click here to return to the top of the page


 

Radar Presentation

 

NWS Weather Radar Imagery
 
Fort Worth Spinks WSR-88D Radar Imagery
Fort Worth Spinks WSR-88D Radar Imagery
Shereveport, LA.  WSR-88D Radar Imagery (Coming Soon)Shreveport, LA, WSR-88D Radar Imagery (Coming Soon)

Click on any of the above thumbnails for an animated gif of radar imagery on the afternoon of April 29, 2017
(opens in new window)

 

Click here to return to the top of the page


 

NWS Fort Worth Products

 

NWS Fort Worth was very busy during the severe weather episode on April 29, 2017. The FIRST warning (Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Henderson and Navarro counties) was issued at 3:57 P.M. The LAST warning (Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Hopkins, Lamar and Delta counties) was issued at 7:59 P.M.  

  • All Storm Based Warnings issued: 28
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warnings issued: 14
  • Tornado Warnings issued: 12
  • Flash Flood Warnings issued : 2
  • Severe Weather Statements (Follow-Up Statements): 31

 

NWS Fort Worth Storm Based Warnings
 
All Storm Based Warning polygons issued by NWS Fort Worth on 04/29/2017
All Storm Based Warning polygons issued by NWS Fort Worth on 04/29/2017
All Severe T'Storm Warning polygons issued by NWS Fort Worth on 04/29/2017
All Severe T'Storm Warning polygons issued by NWS Fort Worth on 04/29/2017
All Tornado Warning polygons issued by NWS Fort Worth on 04/29/2017
All Tornado Warning polygons issued by NWS Fort Worth on 04/29/2017
All Flash Flood Warning polygons issued by NWS Fort Worth on 04/29/2017
All Flash Flood Warning polygons issued by NWS Fort Worth on 04/29/2017
Click on any of the above thumbnails for a larger image (opens in new window)

 

NWS Fort Worth Product Archive

 

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings (SVR) Tornado Warnings (TOR) Flash Flood Warnings (FFW) Update Statements (SVS & FFS)
Graphical Local Storm Report (LSR) Final Public Information Statement (PNS)

Select one of the above products in the table to view products issued by NWS Fort Worth during or after the April 29, 2017, tornado event.

 

Click here to return to the top of the page


 

Confirmed Tornadoes on April 29, 2017

 
A total of 7 tornadoes were confirmed across the NWS Fort Worth County Warning Area during the late afternoon and evening hours on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Below is a summary of various survey teams findings. The map lists tornadoes (1 through 7). The numbers on the map below correspond to radar and photography in the graphics following the map.
 
NWS Fort Worth Storm Survey Map
 
Click on the map to view a larger image of tornado tracks determined from NWS Fort Worth surveys
Click on the map to view a larger image of tornado tracks determined from NWS Fort Worth surveys
(opens in new window)
 

 
Tornado #1 Grand Saline
 

NWS Fort Worth Survey Results

 

Survey Summary: A brief tornado was observed just after 4 PM CDT by storm spotters and storm chasers just to the south of the Grand Saline area. The survey team found damage only on trees and this damage was consistent with that of an EF-0 tornado with winds of 80 M.P.H.  

Preliminary rating: EF-0 (estimated peak wind: 80 M.P.H)

Grand Saline Tornado. Rated EF-0 Peak Winds of 80 mph

Signatures from the National Weather Service (NWS) Shreveport, LA, radar are shown on the left. Note for velocity: the radar site (not shown) is located east of the storm. The green arrow indicates winds moving towards the radar and the red arrow denotes winds moving away from the radar. The second image was taken by Brad Wright. This image was relayed by the KLTV news station out of Tyler, TX. For a larger image, click the map.

 
Tornado #2 East Canton
 

NWS Fort Worth Survey Results

 

Survey Summary: A brief tornado between 5:10 pm - 5:14 pm CDT. It caused damage to trees and a few barns, just southeast of the city center of Canton. This tornado impacted an area that would be affected by a larger tornado roughly one hour later.

 

Preliminary rating: EF-0 (estimated peak wind: 75 M.P.H)

NWS Fort Worth Reflectivity image on the left and base velocity image on the right. Image at 5:12 P.M. CDT.NWS Fort Worth Reflectivity image on the left and base velocity image on the right. Image at 5:12 P.M. CDT. For a larger image click on the map.     

No photography of this tornado has been received by the NWS Fort Worth office. If you have pictures of this tornado and/or associated damage, please email them to us at sr-fwd.webmaster@noaa.gov. We would greatly appreciate any pictures or video as it would help us more accurately document this tornado.

 
Tornado #3 Eustace to West Canton 
 

NWS Fort Worth Survey Results 

 

Survey Summary: This was the strongest tornado in this event. Damage consistent with EF-4 winds of around 180 M.P.H occurred in the community of Old Bethel in Van Zandt County. It began around 5:29 P.M. CDT about 2 miles north of the town of Log Cabin (northwest Henderson Co.) and ended around 6:09 P.M. CDT just north of State Highway 243, located to the west of Canton. The survey team found several homes and trees damaged and destroyed along its path. The most substantial damage was in a narrow corridor near the intersection of Farm-to-Market road 2301 and 2313. This tornado reached its greatest width, roughly 1 mile, as it crossed State Highway 198 where numerous high tension towers were demolished.

 

Preliminary rating: EF-4 (estimated peak wind: 180 M.P.H.)

NWS Fort Worth Reflectivity image on the left and base velocity image on the right. Image at 5:53 P.M. CDT. NWS Fort Worth Reflectivity image on the left and base velocity image on the right. Image at 5:53 P.M. CDT. For a larger image, click on the map. 

No photography of this tornado has been received by the NWS Fort Worth office. If you have pictures of this tornado and/or associated damage, please email them to us at sr-fwd.webmaster@noaa.gov. We would greatly appreciate it as it would help us more accurately document this tornado.


 
Tornado #4 Henderson County to South Van Zandt County
 

NWS Fort Worth Survey Results

 

Survey Summary: This tornado was from 5:41 P.M. CDT through 6:04 P.M. CDT. It developed northeast of Log Cabin and continued to move northeast, eventually stopping near the intersection of Van Zandt County Road 2903 and FM 1256. Several homes and trees were damage or destroyed along the path.

 

Preliminary rating: EF-2 (estimated peak wind: 125 M.P.H)

 

Henderson Co. to South Van Zandt Co. Rated EF-2 Peak Winds of 125 mph

 

The NWS radar in Fort Worth, located at the Fort Worth Spinks Airport (south Fort Worth), indicated rotation associated with a possible tornado just to the southeast of the city of Eustace, TX. This would be the SECOND tornado that occurred in Henderson County this day. The tornado quickly matured and took on a stovepipe appearance as it crossed Highway 175 in Henderson County. This was perhaps one of the more photogenic pictures taken by spotters and chasers. For a larger image click on the map.


 
Tornado #5 East Canton to Emory
 

NWS Fort Worth Survey Results

 

Survey Summary: After tornado #4 dissipated, the supercell cycled and produced another tornado about a mile to the east and northeast of the City of Canton. It quickly grew to a large tornado, becoming nearly a mile wide at its peak width. Several homes, businesses and farm buildings were damaged or destroyed in a 40 mile continuous path. This tornado was on the ground for approximately 80 minutes (6:08 P.M. CDT – 7:28 P.M. CDT). This tornado tracked through a majority of Van Zandt and Rains counties leaving a trail of destruction.

 

Preliminary rating: EF-3 (estimated peak wind: 145 M.P.H.)

East Canton to Emory Tornado. Rated EF-3 Peak Winds of 145 mph.

Radar signatures are from the NWS radar located at the Fort Worth Spinks Airport (south Fort Worth). The bottom left images were taken at around 6:25 P.M. CDT and show a strong rotational velocity signature indicative of a tornado. At this range, it's probable that the tornado was strong (at least EF-2 intensity). Storm spotters captured what appears to be a wedge tornado just to the east of Canton. The top left imagery is also from the Fort Worth radar, but a little later in the evening at around 7:02 P.M. CDT. It also indicates the potential for a strong and storm spotters just east of Emory photographed a large cone tornado during the evening hours of April 29, 2017.  For a larger image click on the map.


 
Tornado #6 Miller Grove to South Cumby 
 

NWS Fort Worth Survey Results

 

Survey Summary: A tornado occurred between 5:32 P.M CDT and – 5:50 P.M. CDT. This tornado briefly had multiple vortices but generally maintained a width of around 100 yards. It traveled north along the County Road 1131 with mostly tree damage observed by the survey team. A metal barn was destroyed (near County Road 1131 and County Road 1120) and damage to a home along FM 275 south of I-30 near the end of the track. This home burned after a large tree limb fell on the main utility pole which then fell upon the house.

 

Preliminary rating: EF-0 (estimated peak wind: 85 M.P.H)

Miller Grove to South Cumby Tornado. Rated EF-0 Peak winds of 85 mph.

Radar signatures are taken from the NWS Fort Worth radar located at the Fort Worth Spinks Airport (south Fort Worth). At times, this small supercell produced a multiple vortex tornado per video taken by citizens near Miller Grove. The tornado remained over mostly rural areas of Hopkins Co and based on the damage, an EF-0 rating was assigned. For a larger image click on the map.


 
Tornado #7 Rural Southwest Van Zandt County Tornado
 

NWS Forth Worth Survey

 

Brief tornado between 7:13 pm – 7:15 pm CDT. The tornado was observed by residents of the area, south of Van Zandt County road 2308. It occurred over open fields.

 

Preliminary rating: EF-0 (estimated peak wind: 85 M.P.H)

Southwest Van Zandt Co. Tornado. Rated EF-0 Peak winds of 80 mph.Reflectivity image on the left and base velocity image on the right. Image at 7:18 pm CDT. 

Unlike the other tornadoes during this event, this tornado appeared to be more associated with processes more consistent with those of a Quasi Linear Convective System or QLCS-type tornado. This tornado was brief and occurred mainly over rural portions of southwestern Van Zandt. For a larger image click on the map.

Click here to return to the top of the page

 

North and Central Texas April Tornado Climatology

 

The peak in severe weather, more specifically tornadic activity, typically occurs during the months of April and May. Including the April, 29, 2017, tornadoes---Since the year 1950, 495 tornadoes have touched down across the present day NWS Fort Worth area of responsibility. For other months, please see the North and Central TX Tornado Climatology. This section will examine and highlight some noteworthy tornado events and outbreaks across North and Central TX. Note, tornado outbreak is defined here as a day in which at least 10 confirmed tornadoes (NOT tornado reports) or greater occur in a span of 24 hours. 

 

Noteworthy April Tornado Outbreaks across North & Central TX since 1950
Date Number of Confirmed Tornadoes

Number of Strong Tornadoes     (F/EF-2 or Greater)

Noteworthy Event?
4/26/1994 26 3 tornadoes rated F-2 Highest # of confirmed tornadoes in FWD CWA in 24 hour time period
4/3/2012 17 1 tornado rated EF-3 | 4 tornadoes rated EF-2 TOR Emergency for Dallas & Fort Worth
4/19/1995 17 1 tornado rated F-2 Tornado near Fort Worth
4/26/2015 16 No strong tornadoes Rio Vista "wedge"
4/29/2017 7 1 EF-4 | 1 EF-3 | 3 EF-2 Canton

Click the date for a map of the tornado tracks for a given map.

 

While the number of tornadoes from April 29, 2017, is on the lower end of tornado events in April, the tornado that traveled from the community of Jackson and occluded was the highest rated tornado in Van Zandt County since 1950. Below is a graphic that details some of the more violent tornadoes across Van Zandt County. Van Zandt County has already set a record number of tornadoes in a calendar year at SEVEN.

 

Historic Van Zandt County Strong and Violent Tornadoes
 
Strongest Van Zandt Tornadoes

Click the image for a larger view.


 

Tornado Damage Pictures

 

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4)

Tornado damage near Purtis Creek
 

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.

Eustace to West Canton Tornado (EF-4). Tornado damage near Purtis Creek.
 
 
Tornado damage near Buck Branch
 

EF-4 Tornado: Tornado damage near Buck Branch

EF-4 Tornado: Tornado damage near Buck Branch

EF-4 Tornado: Tornado damage near Buck Branch

EF-4 Tornado: Tornado damage near Buck Branch

 

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3)

Tornado damage near Canton
 

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Canton
 
 
Tornado damage near Fruitvale
 

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Fruitvale

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Fruitvale

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Fruitvale

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Fruitvale
 
 
 
Tornado damage near Emory
 

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory


Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory

 


Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory


Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory

 


Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory

Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory


Jackson to Canton to Emory Tornado (EF-3): Tornado Damage near Emory

 

 

 

Henderson County to South Van Zandt County (EF-2)

Tornado damage in rural Henderson County
 

Henderson County to South Van Zandt County (EF-2). Tornado Damage in rural Henderson County

Henderson County to South Van Zandt County (EF-2). Tornado Damage in rural Henderson County
 
 

 

Miller Grove to South Cumby (EF-0)

Tornado damage near Miller Grove
 




Click here to return to the top of the page


 

Tornado Tracks and Success Stories

 
 

Click on the icons to read more about the tornadoes and success stories. 

 

 
 
Click here to return to the top of the page

 

These storms reinforce the need to have a severe weather plan in place and practice it frequently. Furthermore, now is the time to get your NOAA weather radio ready. Weather radios will alert you of hazardous weather...whenever it strikes!

For more details on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, visit www.spc.noaa.gov/efscale/

Special thanks to those who helped us document this event by sending us photos and videos of these tornadoes.