National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
May Severe Weather Events
for Southeast Texas
2011 25th Large hail - up to 4 inches (the size of grapefruits) fell in the Cleveland area (Liberty County) late in the evening. Severe thunderstorms developed along a slow moving cold front that extended southward from a strong storm system across the upper midwest states.
2009 3rd An EF-1 tornado near Pennington (Trinity County) produced a 2 mile long and 50 yard wide damage path, destroyed an outdoor shed, shifted a double wide trailer and flipped a pickup truck. A small metal boat was carried 300 yards across an open field. Numerous trees were either uprooted or snapped off close to the ground. Damage was estimated at around $60,000.
2006 4th Large hail - up to 3 inches (the size of tea cups) fell in the Champions Forest Subdivision near Houston Hooks Airport (Harris County).
2005 8th Severe thunderstorms with strong damaging winds and large hail moved across the southern half of southeast Texas with damage observed from the El Campo and Wharton area (trees and power lines down, roof damage and a hanger with an airplane inside destroyed) eastward to the coast. Further to the east (Brazoria County), strong winds downed trees and blew roofs off mobile homes in Rosharon, Danbury and Liverpool. In Alvin, a metal shed and billboards were also downed by the wind. Near the coast in Galveston County, large hail (up to golf ball size) fell in Texas City, and strong winds downed large trees and damaged property from League City to Dickinson to Galveston Island. On the Island, there was building damage along the Port of Galveston, vehicles were blown off the road and trees were downed. One home was shifted about ten feet into another home next door dislodging it from its piers (both homes were Galveston 1900 Storm survivors).
2000 1st-2nd Severe thunderstorms with strong damaging winds, large hail and a tornado swept through Southeast Texas from late evening on the 1st through early morning on the 2nd. Widespread wind damage impacted Harris, Ft. Bend, Wharton, Brazoria and Galveston counties with gusts as high as 80 mph. Nearly all the wind damage was due to downburst winds, with only one F0 tornado reported in Rosharon (Brazoria County). Severe damage occured at Clover Field in Pearland (Brazoria County) where several planes were overturned and two airplane hangers were destroyed, and at Scholes Field in Galveston (Galveston County) where several small planes were overturned and the NOAA P-3 research aircraft was damaged. A massive hailstorm with golfball to baseball size hail struck the Conroe area (Montgomery County) producing over $10 million in damage to automobiles (over 1000 automobiles at several dealerships), carports and several businesses. At least 28 windows were smashed at a fire station in Conroe with at least 75 patrol cars severely damaged. Wind and hail caused destruction of crops in Burleson County and in southern Austin and Ft. Bend Counties. Total damage for the event in Southeast Texas was estimated to be near $25 million.
2000 19th-20th Major flash flooding was observed in the western portion of Liberty County in the Liberty and Dayton areas. Water covered US 90 and was closed for over 12 hours. Half the streets in Liberty were covered with 1 to 2 feet of water with widespread street flooding also observed in Dayton. At least 262 homes and 42 businesses were damaged countywide, including half the homes in the Oak Forest subdivision in Liberty. 60 to 80 people were rescued from flood waters. Several schools were also damaged. Water levels reached 18 feet high on the SH 321 underpass in Dayton. The co-op observer in Liberty reported a storm total of 19.1 inches of rain, with 18.3 inches falling in only 5 hours! Strong damaging winds and an F0 tornado also accompanied these storms and downed many trees. Major flooding was also observed in northern Harris County when this storm began to organize. Heavy rains brought one foot of water in the approach control tower at Intercontinental airport. Total damage was over $10.2 million...with over $10 million alone in Liberty County.
1999 10th A bow echo with strong damaging winds moved across the southern half of Southeast Texas just before sunrise causing widespread damage. The Houston area reported trees and power lines down, roof damage, and windows blown out of several downtown buildings. Computers were actually blown out the downtown windows by the winds estimated to be between 60 and 70 mph. Other damage included 49 railroad cars blown off the tracks (Santa Fe in Galveston County), a two-ton boat blown into a car along Channelview drive (Galveston in Galveston Island), and trees down in Guy (Fort Bend County), New Caney (Montgomery County), Cleveland and Liberty (Liberty County), and just north of Alvin (Brazoria County). Total damage was over $1.8 million...of which over $1 million was in Harris County (Houston and surrounding communities) alone.
1998 entire month Record low rainfall (0.04 inches at Houston's Intercontinental Airport) began a string of dry months that set the stage for the 1999-2000 drought. The 0.04 inches this month tied the record for the driest May set back in 1892.
1998 12th-20th Smoke and haze from forest fires burning in Mexico and Central America surged northward into Southeast Texas reducing visibilities to 3 miles or less for more than a week.
1997 24th-25th Heavy rains brought severe flooding to the Houston area (Harris County). 50 to 75 homes had flood damage. Creeks and bayous were out of their banks in many locations. Many cars were flooded. A cab driver and a 12 year old boy had to be rescued after flood waters swept them away from White Oak Bayou. Both hung onto trees before being rescued. Both had many ant bites. Total flood damage was $250,000.
1996 entire month Drought plagued Southeast Texas during the month. Very little rain fell across the area this month, a month that is normally one of the wettest of the year. Many stations actually received less than a tenth of an inch of rain. Houston's Intercontinental Airport reported 0.31 inches of rain which was one of the driest Mays on record. Many spring crops were lost to the agricultural cummunity. Drought damage was $10 million for property, $50 million for agriculture.
1995 18th A supercell moved across Lake Houston and intensified to form a mesocyclone as it moved into Liberty County. Four tornadoes (three F0 and one F1) developed as the supercell moved from west to east actoss the county. Areas near Dayton and Daisetta and downton Liberty received damage...the most extensive being in Liberty. Twelve people were injured and two required hospitalization from the Liberty tornado. Total crop and property damage was $800,000.
1994 13th An MCS developed across Central Texas and moved to the east into all of Southeast Texas during the morning. Nearly every county reported damage due to either wind, hail, or tornadoes. The costliest damage was in near Stagecoach (Montgomery County) where an F1 tornado cut a 4 mile long and 50 yard wide path of destruction...and in western Washington County where an F2 tornado damaged several homes.
1993 2nd Thunderstorm winds in a fast moving squall line (as high as 98 mph at Galveston's Scholes Field) moved across Harris, Galveston and Brazoria counties during the early morning hours. Across the three counties, trees were knocked down, roofs were damaged, and power lines were blown or knocked down. At Scholes Field, three hangars were destroyed and two private aircraft were damaged. In Galveston, 64 businesses were damaged and 12 apartment complexes and several large stores had roofs stripped of shingles and windows blown in. More than 200,000 people were left without electricity in the three counties.
1992 28th Hail from dime to tennis ball size accompanied a severe thunderstorm as it moved across the northwest portions of Houston (Harris County). The tennis ball size hail was in the northwest portions of Houston on the Katy Freeway.
1991 4th Damage was reported across a large part of Wharton County from severe thunderstorms that moved through the area. Hardest hit was the El Campo area where severe thunderstorm winds destroyed three mobile homes. The hospital and adjacent clinic received heavy damage; several windows were blown out, and the roof was removed from the clinic. Power lines were downed across the county. 90 to 105 mph winds were reported in Pierce by the DPS office. Total countywide damage was over $1.5 million.
1990 13th to end The Record Flood of 1990 occurred across the Lower Trinity River Basin due to heavy North Texas rainfall earlier in the month. 4,000 homes were flooded in Liberty, Polk, San Jacinto, Madison, Walker, and Chambers counties. The major brunt of the damage was felt in Liberty County where around 2,500 homes were flooded. 200 homes were declared a total loss. 7,000 people across the county were evacuated. The hardest hit area was Dayton Lakes estate in the Trinity River bottom where flood waters isolated the community from around the 13th to well into July. The only way in or out of the subdivision was by boat. Total Liberty County property damage was around $100 million. In addition, the brown shrimp and oyster crop was totally wiped out in Trinity and Galveston Bays due to prolonged fresh water intrusion.
1989 17th to 29th The Great May Flood of '89 developed in the drainage areas of the Sabine, Trinity and Neches rivers. Smaller drainage areas such as Cypress, Spring, Peach, and Caney creeks were also flooded from the deluge of torrential rains on the 17th and the 18th. Greens Bayou and the San Jacinto River also had serious overflow. Rainfall totals included: 10.36 inches in a 24 hour period ending at 2 PM on the 18th at Houston's Intercontinental Airport(this still stands as the greatest 24 hour rainfall total at the airport), 15 inches in Spring (northern Harris county), 14 inches at Liberty (Liberty county), 13 inches at The Woodlands (Montgomery county), and 11 inches at Conroe (Montgomery county) and at Luce Bayou (northeast Harris county). Nearly a thousand homes were damaged. Damage costs were well over $12 million. The flooding caused two fatalities in Liberty county.