It was exactly one year ago when a busy and, sadly, deadly, severe weather day unfolded across Texas. Locally, the KSAT Weather team was on high alert, with an elevated risk of tornadoes. While the bulk of the powerful weather occurred northeast of San Antonio, it was a close call. Those around Austin were not so lucky.
When the day started, it was clear that the atmosphere was ripe with energy. The setup was so that thunderstorms were almost a sure thing. We had the ingredients needed for storm development: instability (heat and humidity) and wind shear (winds changing speed and direction with height).
The question was where storms would fire and how quickly they’d become tornadic. The Storm Prediction Center issued a rare “moderate” risk for parts of the viewing area. On a scale of 1 to 5, this was a 4.
Right on cue, storms fired north of San Antonio along Highway 281 between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. This radar image from the National Weather Service in New Braunfels shows how the storms quickly became powerful discrete supercells.
We headed north and then east in the KSAT Storm Chaser to safely track the storms. While our goal is to always stay ahead of a storm, these fast moving cells caught up to us in Seguin. Sizable hail would be followed by heavy rainfall.
I shot this video along I-10 in Seguin shortly before the storm became tornadic. (See below or click here)
We followed the storm to near Kingsbury, where it did indeed put down a tornado. It was later rated as an EF-2. The damage, while localized, was significant.
Farther north, along I-35, conditions were even worse, with numerous tornadoes touching down near Austin. This incredible video taken by Brian Emfinger shows a truck getting spun around by a tornado near Elgin. Thankfully, no one in the truck was injured. (See below or click here)
Severe weather season is once again upon us, which means situations like the one we saw a year ago can occur quickly. You’ll want to make sure you’re prepared.
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