KNSS Radio>Audio & Video on Demand>>Episode 27: Texas Tornadoes!

Episode 27: Texas Tornadoes!

Dec 26, 2016|

December 26, 2015.  A significant tornado outbreak in North Texas.  A total of 12 confirmed tornadoes, 3 of which were rated EF-2 or greater.  The most intense tornado occurred in the Sunnyvale-Garland-Rowlett area.  It was rated an EF4.  On Episode 27 of Tornado Talk, we take a look back at what ...

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Hi this is Dan from tornado talked please take a moment to go to our website tornado talk dot com and click support the show on the menu. As you know we offer this podcast three but it is not free to produce we accrue monthly costs including writing researching recording editing and producing. There if you click the donate button on that page you can help us underwrite the cause that's tornado talk dot com. Click the support the show on the menu and you'll see the donate button and they Q in advance. I asked about one of nature's most fascinating phenomenon to share your tornado story with us by email Jenin Dan at tornado talk dot com. Yeah and dance at a tornado Dockett got content. Now meteorologist. Jennifer near Moore and Dan Holliday tornado Todd is on Christmas Day 2015. Plus. There's joy and laughter of children helping guests chairs times with campaign. And the celebration of the true meaning yeah. This. News. In north central Texas who would not be a white Christmas this year. The weather was beautiful warmer than average he would be hard to fathom what would happen just one day later. For a right behind him. This tornado outbreak just one day. On the door. And this is tornado soft. Texas tornadoes on Saturday December 26 2015. If a powerful tornado tears through parts of Sunnyvale Garland and brown let. Causing EF four damage there would be a total of twelve tornadoes that day killing thirteen and injuring nearly seventy others. Getting the word out about potential severe weather is the job of the National Weather Service Mark Fox is a warning coordination meteorologist at the Fort Worth forecasts obsessed. He knew it would be a challenge to grab the public's attention on Christmas. We knew more a couple of days before this there was going to be a pretty. I'm pretty intense system coming through now all but whether or not that was gonna mean tornadoes weather's going to be. The cold front that came through a little bit of frozen precipitation we had a pretty good idea about a week or so before. The the Christmas came through it back we sent out an email to work harder saying just kind of keep an eye out it looks like guess sometime around Christmas she mania. Half to beat deal he dealings something we weren't sure exactly what it was. And so a couple of days before Christmas has started looking more and more light. Guess I'm very strong cold front can account through and with that is gonna have those chances foursome storms and buddy and I are actually launched on the day shift ended the day after Christmas and we put a couple weather balloons in the air and you know once we saw the special sounding at eighteen C. Oh lead. While we looked each other so a couple of words -- like to say here that we we kind of news going to be and uninteresting afternoon and about two hours after the special sounding went up in the air and we thought things were gonna rotate. Churn out things starting going in almost every single storm that Dayton. Turned industry persona has started rotating and of course the worst of the worst turned into. Some EF three of the four corners. Connor McCrory is a student at the University of Oklahoma and returned home to Plano Texas to celebrate the holidays when his family. Connery is also a storm chaser and he too was watching the severe weather scenario unfold. The real big deal was good post snowstorm of the winter storm on the backside of the system lateral moves toward paying attention to. Holes for testing for a few days leading up to my host of the status so much FaceBook Christmas night welcome home rhetorical for the tornado basically he kind of trial alert me. My friend from the Dallas area to what I consider to be pretty substantial owner to a potential and a lot of people really were discussing. And bad about status and how to. Blew up or go a lot of attention on FaceBook that I know a lot of people what happened there I knew about why they're mired horror a lot more people maybe saying boy who would not be tornadoes and the next day so I come up so I goes. A little bit of pressure from my 400 unscrupulous but it could hold onto north Texas but the day after Christmas murdered duking it. Significantly the potential loan. We regret the decision to chase and I look forward so I'm policemen all call led dale would always say I'm currently sitting around waiting for the right time. I don't know this storm prediction center put out an enhanced risk of severe weather on December 26 2015. Including the potential for tornadoes. By 1:43 PM the National Weather Service issued the first tornado warning SL has strengthened near Franklin with a possible tornado it was only the beginning. In the wintertime the days are short and but nightfall at the earliest point of the year. Mark fox and his staff at the National Weather Service knew that the tornado threat would continue after dark. And it was just then that a major populated area would be in harm's way. It was right that night in fact the first tornado that affected the Metroplex here right at 6 o'clock and then not be the tornado that began in Sunnyvale and moved up cute Garland and morale Latin and up and Q. Collin county that started around 645. The day after Christmas so that was a couple of interest and challenges there are number one and now. In 8645. Tornado in May. Is still visible for a lot of folks but with standard time and with the sun going down relatively early that when the tornado came through you you really couldn't see anything that was out of the ordinary in fact. Other than the lightning. It just look like a normal every day storm. And and that was really one of the problems that we have that day it's it occurred at night. And not anybody could really see anything coming from miles away and unfortunately by the time net. The tornado came through and get right there around 6457. O'clock get that was a lot of people's first indication that that things are gonna be really bad that day. Connor McCrery had taken his sister cast plan on her first storm chase that afternoon. And before sundown they it already witness a tornado. We were. About our recent ballots just south of I thirty. And so after that tornado there were huge storm blowing straight toward downtown Ballard so no one of the most tornado warning them. So. I ask that you wanted to keep chasing normal ever under any circumstance I would I would torture you don't want to put their first day. We unless somebody who's. As sort of heading straight toward Dallas as we are close to Dallas bookstore a little loose highly critical downtown. The weekend and good tornado blew them producing a blue this sort producing them and I'm. Bit handoff over to beat the stormed to a peace. With them about being absorbed the producer group Garland and well tornado. Ed old heiress is the assistant emergency management coordinator in a row let taxes. He was on duty in the community's emergency operations center has at two in the afternoon once you heard about the tornadic storms east of town. I made the decision to go ahead and deployed TD ESCO little real clear on number eight tornado watch about one. And I made the decision to go ahead and actually. This immediacy listening. Well tornado warnings are being issued all across north central to access the same tornado Conner Corey and his sister were tracking. This being observed by many other residents calls began pouring NCA 911. That's right Jordan on the grounds that it didn't hit it big American morning morning. I didn't even bring it to 8000300. Online authorities. They've added a lot like thirty million feet underground but I I'm thirty. A large tornado had begun its thirteen mile journey just southeast of new hope taxes. Tornado just came to our power and our whole entire living room and dining room at a time no hole in his life caller yeah and he smells something meant to Barney but we have like my children in the house today and tornado came through Ahmadinejad. It tore through the Sunnyvale community and headed for interstate thirty where it would do its worst damage. Connor McCrory and his sister Kaplan watched the tornado is they sped close enough to see it good race to way to miss being caught in its. Can justify it. Got out my column culture radar. I need. Although we have there's this bird flu because of the code bush turnpike coming up and I am I'm very familiar with the roads in this area so I told. My little sister Kaplan to. Take good toward bush is it what can your radar and we can only I that I sort of second guess per minute just because I was getting nervous about the fact that we haven't seen a tornado for. Leno nearly a minute. And that we don't know exactly where why and how important that it might pass just west of B yeah. Still the bird bird on the George Bush and let it might end up fairly straight towards us and we were. I'll put some. George Bush bridge over where Craig Hubbard then came time to make a decision we grab the exit and so I went OK go for particular bush. We did and as soon as we trophy exist I mean if no no more than two recessions after we've got to reported lower earned on this over the password the world wide enough. Trust with Turco been long over so no recourse to inform us so they never know how hard you're not gonna react how other launches her murder react in the situation murderous suddenly see a tornado bearing down on the boom there a lot of support they'll finally. Yeah or more power flashes and these are clashes were occurring. Why there aren't occurred just. If you. Both your yard score tomorrow. Perhaps miles miles away from us and knew it was moving straight towards us and and the tornado I've gotten just massive truck. In retrospect bristles. Why when the tornado was that a yes or intensity homework before it. There are engines Google away. Those right over the tornadoes by the strongest and it just happened to jump out of the Darko try to have a right there. So I mean I. I immediately you know panic in the strong word I will find no urgency became very very real and that moment and I knew more or less than if we should. If for hours and four of us are removed to vehicle and drove us and I knew that if they have kept going. That we would probably you know had a mountain 95% chance or so. I didn't know what the court upon what sort of stopped so I immediately started urging her to splash heard. Flash lights up because of term us he actually. Yeah cause uniform without even having the capability but plutonium. Program for a back. I don't know don't. Why should bright flash of rights. She's just sort of daunting which will be good because I think that may have no food no record for the most may have stopped at Abu. Tell you will. The real her partner who wouldn't and just when we first got off on that overpass and then all of a sudden boom there was you to sit. While the massive tornado label Clinton. Yeah hole. Paul big blunder every day. It's huge. Huge. Wall really soar on news tornado that we were driving straightforward film. That's a long long over some loose in the first. Searching twenty seconds or so later on that I mean is like over quarter mile lap while driving blast before I heard some more. So we were driving straight toward the tornado from the first. Half of the time that we were on the overpass let it go go go unsettling feeling too good to have to wait until I moved to Rhode hurt more so we knew was going to. It happened very quickly enough and those little time to do anything or react. The twister continued on his pass to the northeast. At its strongest point it was 550 yards wide. With 170. To 100 an eighty mile per hour winds. After it tore through portions of Garland and rally at Texas and old heiress was working feverishly to provide help to those affected. For me elegant and calls from those. Residents there were trapped in homes. Who are searching for their loved ones I might it has people that I knew. We're calling and happy new world are part of our search program. For calling in could lead in part of course or perhaps a long time so analysts fielding calls from people I knew. Who are trapped searching for the Olajuwon loved ones I'm on the as far as I thirty. I was very much removed from that. Incident response. What you garner from Garland then. And elsewhere in the media just. On more than more than what I've actually seen. Douglas Mathis is the mayor of Garland Texas. He recalls watching coverage of the storm making its way through his community. And I live in more Lester northwest portion of the city. I was almost was for a boy from the tornado as. Has and the other residents of Garland how we're very fortunate that the portion that was hit it was actually good dismissed. And the tornado went across that and if it got to cut across the other section of the city we would have been much more severely impacted and we work. Mark Fox at the National Weather Service said the Garland area was hit hard. When the tornado was at its worst. Wonder what truth Garland was was definitely the strongest one of the bombshell book the one down and over pillow limit blood CNN's Glenn heights wasn't too terribly far behind bits be the combination of high population area unfortunately a lot of targets. And just the winter this storm which was up to three quarters may be to a mile wide at some spots it was certain. Kind of the the ugly meets the only opportunity so it just still as one of the strongest storms that we hadn't and in December no last. And don't the other thing that is about it December tornado is you know dear. Tornadoes are rare in the beaten to begin web birdies late December tornado especially right Iraq Christmas it was really the last thing on people's minds come in terms. Thomas McCrory and his sister Kaplan came close to the tornado while on the interstate. Mark Fox says for those who suddenly found themselves on the road in its path that's where most of the fatalities occurred. What are the sad part about this story is done most of them probably were on 930 birds do it was. Right edit an intersection where interstate thirty in the turnpike. President George Bush turnpike came together and not so there's a possibility that they were on the bridge coming off the turnpike or down on the on the bridge but everything was just kind of thrown thrown around and especially at first I remember getting to reports of the massive traffic accident and that was kind of our first indication that there are some that some other damage then than just the idea of the apartments and houses up there and then going out and putting 282 and two together those those cars were damaged and that caused all the debris from. The tornado on not necessarily just too bad traffic accident so right there at the intersection of I thirty President George Bush turnpike that's where most of the fatalities occurred right in that area where. Cars were either going up on ramp for coming off of around enough. In a car in an F four tornado or that tornado because yes F four damage and you know the car unfortunate I can win that battle too often. Connor McCurry called off the storm chase like most tornado chasers when damage occurs. They're more concerned with helping people who may be injured or homeland say. -- was on the call off the chase and had back in the town. I don't come back in the departed town were the tornado had come through. The crew's salute. It was the day after Christmas some dolls for work and violent tornados don't come true. You know. We were going to be some of the first people there and reveal a lot of people look you know. And that's the situation I've been employed at times tornado Dem and seeing you and I are always. To stop them. Try to do what I can. From. Who refer people farmer before an emergency crews are. I think so this is. Are valuable in that regard people come under fire a lot of food source saying the soldiers throughout producer who lives and I would be. Yeah I chase. Because I enjoy storm chasing for I it's also true my obligation to help people outlawed laughter. So we decided to go back in the Garland and we really didn't rattle and actually and we've. So now we can move the tornado damaged neighborhood. I was already chaotic who have no police Samuel doing everywhere. Allred comes to the chaotic tornado Syracuse you can. No one really obeying traffic clog anymore after the crash tomorrow we had to back into the neighborhood we came up on Saturday. Sponsored home for the day and I didn't severely damaged and so. If someone's one man who just emerged from his home much. Food we're gonna need some of the walls have been blown and how awesome. EU was a relatively good spirits considering what just happened but you do the first person we came up also ask you do anything and he will. And conspiracy loosened. Up a little frantic this kind of run around a little. You know try to take care consultant he told also used car can hear the breed dogs together and I think he'll have one album at that time and so. My sister and I helped some hundred dogs and then we. Basically we held on those dollars and helped keep him in my truck and so. Daughter could come and pick him up and taken to her house to say. We didn't see anyone who's been anymore. They immediate need to open our immediate vicinity we do checks with the neighbors number one Saddam ruled account corner. Mayor Douglas at this in Garland said because he was still in fall during the storm's aftermath. Fury dozens of stories about what happened that night I saw house had been totally demolished by the storm. Except one in short interior wall. And there was a Ford. F 150 pick. On top of the house and then there was a tree on top of that. And two young men were walking out. And I estimate they've been there and this is no it was her parents house when I'm told me he had left that there's going on Aron was on his way back. Can clearly got back to the house minutes after the tornado go through of course what he saw. When you were derived what I saw and he knew that his parents and his son was in the house. So called tune and they called back because they were are rightly they weren't hurt but they were their room and collapsed on top of them and they were trapped that they were they were not unsafe. The mother had received some scratches. They wanted to know if if they felt like they were on an update judicious stern big amount of media and remember. They're in a room with a pick up on top of as they described conditions apparent shows away for emergency responders to get there and 45 minutes they had actually been. What can emergency personnel they have been dug out and and rescued. The father. There had been trapped. Had no shoes. There's glass and kneels and broken timbers and everything else scattered everywhere. One of the neighbors went to his home which had been also hit by the tornadoes down a parachute. This year with this gentleman. Possibly would be walking around barefoot. Everyone of course from every story I've talked to they checked their media house to check your family members and and immediately went. To see if they get paid your neighbors and that was over and over and over people's response wanted to help out. Her neighbors was was incredible. Rao lead assistant emergency manager and all Peres also heard heroic stories that emerge from those who wanted to help the injured. I know that our City Council member it was not a city City Council member before that tornado that he was afterward. Has been through our greatest. And then Kenny walker helped rescue a gentleman whose house that collapsed on him the oil transported to our local hospital. Fortunately he is he did pass the way he did actually two weeks after. I need he was the only fatality in growl at them whereas Ellis caught directly by the tornado injuries sustained by the tornado. And I know that that story as templates up quite a bit they drove through god knows what type of debris to get entered the hospital director. Retired or credit their vehicle creep banged up a day got him to the hospital. I gave that family the couple weeks that's true with with with that dominant cuts away. Warning coordination meteorologist Mark Fox at the National Weather Service says the storms claimed thirteen lives and hurt between 67 to seventy others. He was part of the survey team that raided the dozen confirmed tornadoes that occurred on December 26. 2015. The strongest words just south of interstate thirty and weariness 8:30 AM the President George Bush turnpike meet in northeastern Allison. This clues in the vicinity of a apartment complex and also some. Well built homes were pretty yeah I'm pretty much Droid there wasn't much left. As far as anything of eastern structure going through. So you knew that it wasn't just a case. A little bit of the route coming off or need. Garage doors Dana bash scandal that led to a couple windows coming out it was pretty expensive and back with. The team when you go through and take a look at some of the street view maps from before the storm end comparing to afterwards. Today is there was this much laughed and in fact. Had that quite a few of the buildings that were damage all the way down to their foundation that. Still quite a bit of debris in and around the neighborhood. And you also had several spots where. Some trees never completely dis are. Some trees that were uprooted and then disembark and thrown everywhere and and cars being flown around so unfortunately there was so little bit of everything going on what this storm and a lot of debris that may extend lives C a wind speed goes it'll likely a good enough. High 11980. To 200 mile per hour so close to that. Deflated a lot of damage. Assistance emergency management coordinator and I'll Peres says he can't remember any saying that was just riveting. For the community before. Go haven't dealt with anything year here this side again I've only been hurt you mantra three years so well they have haven't been in pretty national for too long have had several westerners including he scored twenty fortunate eagle outbreaks. Ahmad had a good few winter storms. Are streamlined when storms but nothing serious magnitude nothing imaginary data mass destruction. This he's still good job duties. Some related to this event where well beyond anything I've done before. It was extremely overwhelming. I'm person who can typically goes three days without sleep. But I was almost done both emotionally and physically. Mentally. You know two days. No nothing. Reporters before there's so much you've gone through and of course this sense of this scope of this localized don't don't really happen too often that happens you know. Person somebody who does count out of three this. The episode 26 B Vicksburg bad tornado the PC did on that. I don't I love that first sentence does they had always said the group would never had a tornado because of the river. We had sort of the same mentality because of the late call via Robert Bolt. And we were never had an event of this go. So all those events sort of prepared before this sort of response that I would be required to perform. It was nowhere near what I next. This cleanup and recovery was swift and within a year workers and volunteers assisted many in getting their lives back to normal. Garland mayor Douglas at this said his city has some advantages were very porch. Now. That we on our own power companies. The power company was staging materials immediately at a nearby school was not affected by a good school district gave them access to school grounds. So merely they started a staging polls we started staging. Conductor. This sort of staging all the other parts of they would leave when they started reaching storing power. This started bringing in contractors to be able to help with the processes. All the different departments in this city has had emergency situations a lot of cheers as they've had respond to which had ice storms floods. And so there were a little bit premiere what they had to do to be for be prepared to begin in place. We wanted to go through and mark off block by block or that we could start recovery efforts obviously were some areas that were much more heavily damaged and others. I was just recorded around the area of sodium so people could come in. We had our patrol please some other cities we had a large number of people from the area respond. And one of the things that we had the advantage is that cities and are part of the are part of the state coordinate very. Often and regularly on the emergency management and these types of situations so what one cities and trouble. Other cities or they won't respond very quickly and bring help. So we have professional people and a much greater percentage probably unfortunate country with a past. In Allen Texas and now Darren says that efforts to restore and rebuild continued today in these cities delicate laundry everything the media assist those who were impacted. Because again. Most most of those volunteer positions leave within the first month or two depending on the side of the adapter here only for the short term recovery. However were born here with the residents heard now for a long term. So we we established a lot quicker if you wish brought together a lot of the church system volunteer organization seller helping those impacted. Felt sort of coordinate a simpler approach to that that process. And and number I I think works fairly well recovered I think right now we have a under. Ten under thirteen not that are either foundational year completely empty lot. This is that a 1296. Properties that are impacted so. I'm our recovery was in this fairly. Back compared to others. Cities I've seen go through this in a similar type of the. There have been many organizations who made contributions to enrich the lives of storm victims just one of them is storm assist on line it storm assist dot org. You're a group of Storm Chasers who contribute their videos to help raise money for victims skipped Talbott is the vice president of storm assists. Yeah I mean you need your contribution. Down in Texas we you raised almost thirteen thousand dollars or Arlen. Texas and for us and so I was you made your contribution and our biggest wind. Garland mayor Douglas asked us remembers the numerous groups including storm assessed he stepped forward. The outpouring of help from across our region across our state literally from across the country. Was it was amazing. Number security's game you know with the volunteers were everywhere. And I traveled through the the stricken area over the next couple days people approach me offered me cash cards. Because they thought I might have been a victim they were just handing out people were handing out resources bringing food. And trying to be helpful. Without any concern there be any sort of payback because they were giving him not even know wanting. The individuals that they are giving to being trying to give to have. To boost it was really tremendous. How much people really tried to help out. Meteorologist Mark Fox at the National Weather Service offers his gratitude for the exemplary job the media did in getting the word out about the threat of severe weather. He can't erase from his mind that the timing of when it happened it was what contributed to the loss of life. We went around for I think it was at least three full days of the damage surveys see and one of the things. And then we like to do you. It is you know talk to the people that were there. And try to figure out you know did they know I was coming in and when did they know I didn't did they understand the forecast and things like that it just. Sometimes it's and a little bit awkward seed you have to build up a little bit of a report and going and going out there talking to these talks that. Every person over this three days that we talked generally Aston that they know is coming. Only one person out of about fifty or sixty people we talked to one person said they had an idea that there are tornado's coming at them. And if that happens if tornadoes happen and April you expect them yes tornadoes happen in December home. Sometimes you don't really expect them that. The had that big take away that I got out of this is sent no matter. What the calendar says. If the environment tracked tornadoes this is something you've got to take a look at you've got to kind of monitor the weather your own. And you can kinda have to own that responsibility to go on find out what's in the forecast and try to figure out what to do no matter why just because the calendar says one thing it doesn't mean and then there's certain types of weather data are not gonna happen so. I don't know about fifty or sixty people we talked to only one person says they realized. The forecast was for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Even though those were the forecast to get it done for five days out before that died about. Next on tornado talk we look back at 2016. And a year in severe weather. What are the most powerful talked about tornadoes of the year. They were counting down the top ten tornadoes in 2016. On episode 28 of tornadoes top.