Was Sunday night’s storm damage from straight-line winds or a tornado?

It’s difficult to know for sure until there is an official survey from National Weather Service

Photo Courtesy: Courtesy, Francisco H, Wild Horse At Tausch Farms in San Antonio (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: The National Weather Service determined that an EF1 tornado with up to 100 mph winds was likely.

On Sunday night, both severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado warnings were ongoing around San Antonio after 7 p.m., when a squall line moved through the KSAT12 viewing area.

Pictures, video show lightning and damage from storms in San Antonio, surrounding areas

A “squall" is a line of storms that usually produces damaging wind gusts along the leading edge of the storms. Occasionally, quick spin-up tornadoes are embedded along the line. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine whether any storm damage is technically from a tornado or straight-line wind gusts -- especially when squall lines occur at night.

With radar indicated wind velocities of up to 80 to 90 mph Sunday night, damage was reported across northern Bexar County. This was especially true in the Wildhorse subdivision on the city’s northwest side.

Traveling through the neighborhood in the Storm Chaser, Meteorologist Justin Horne observed a roof ripped off of a house, windows shattered, and bits of trees and a fence post lodged in the siding of a garage.

Usually, the National Weather Service will send meteorologists to observe the damage patterns after an event to determine whether or not a tornado occurred. Our local Austin/San Antonio Weather Service office is currently in the process of determining when and if they will conduct a survey. We’ll be sure to keep you informed!

Image of storm damage from May 24. (KSAT)

Memorial Day Forecast

We’re not done with the chance for severe storms, yet. In fact, another squall line is expected late Monday with a risk for damaging gusts and flooding. Here’s what you need to know about Memorial Day’s forecast:

  • After a round of scattered storms in the early morning, it will be generally quiet for most of Monday.
  • A few isolated, pop-up storms will be possible during the day
  • However, a line of storms will move through the KSAT 12 viewing area mainly after dinner
  • This squall line will pose a threat for damaging wind gusts of more than 60 mph
  • Flooding will also be an issue with any heavy downpours that occur because the ground is saturated from the more than 2 to 3 inches of recent rainfall
  • Overnight, storms will move east of San Antonio with the severe threat coming to an end

WATCH the latest forecast from your KSAT Weather Authority Team:

Check out the latest satellite imaging tracking storms in the San Antonio area here:

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About the Author

Sarah Spivey is a San Antonio native who grew up watching KSAT. She has been a proud member of the KSAT Weather Authority Team since 2017. Sarah is a Clark High School and Texas A&M University graduate. She previously worked at KTEN News. When Sarah is not busy forecasting, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and cat, and playing music.

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