Below is a look back at the most widespread or damaging weather events in Texoma during the spring of 2011; smaller hail or wind events are not covered.
The first major severe weather outbreak of 2011 in Texoma was also the most destructive and tragic. On April 14th, an intense Supercell formed in Murray County near Sulphur and was tracked by storm chaser Doug Drace is it moved eastward. It never produced a tornado, so as that storm weakened Doug headed south on highway 377 to intercept a second developing tornadic storm.
This one produced a tornado for about 10 minutes in between Madill and Tishomingo. It was later rated as an EF1 with winds of about 100mph. The storm moved ENE, weakened slightly, and then rapidly spun up into the Tushka tornado at about 7:20 pm. This Doppler 12 image is from the 7:20 scan:
The National Weather Service (NWS) rated this tornado to EF3 with 150mph winds. It killed 2 people and injured 43 more, destroyed the high school and over 100 other homes and buildings. A much weaker EF0 tornado with winds of about 80 mph passed through Honey Grove in Fannin County later that evening: several homes and outbuildings were damaged but without any human casualties.
Nine days later (April 23), a Supercell formed in Cooke County and began producing golfball to baseball sized hail from Lindsay to Callisburg. A tornado warning was issued as the storm tracked eastward along Highway 82 into Grayson County. A very brief tornado touched down near Sadler, TX with no damage reported from it. Quite a lot of hail damage was observed around Gainesville, mainly to automobiles.
The next major severe event came just a week later on a Sunday morning. The NWS says that 90 to 100 mph straight-line winds blasted through Denison around 6:00 a.m. May 1 along an unseasonably strong cold front. A church steeple was destroyed, numerous large signs were mangled, roofs were damaged, and trees and power lines were blown over. Some insist this was a tornado but the radar signature and actual damage pattern show it as very intense straight-line winds. The NWS also says it was unlikely to be a tornado.
A bow-echo wind event raked Texoma on May 11th. A solid line of thunderstorms moved through between 2 and 6pm with widespread reports of winds in the 60-70mph range. Several buildings were damaged around Whitesboro. The National Weather Service says a brief EF0 tornado in the Lake Kiowa area of Cooke County was responsible for roof and tree damage there. This tornado was on the ground less than a mile and had winds to about 75mph. Signs and trees were blown down along with (another) church steeple in Denison, and damage was also reported near Boswell in Choctaw County from straight-line winds.
A tornadic Supercell visited Murray and Pontotoc Counties May 21, producing at least 11 separate tornadoes. Amazingly, none of these struck a populated area. KXII Storm Chaser Doug Drace captured an image of the last tornado that night as it tracked north of Ada:
A hailstorm took place in Carter County the very next night on May 22. Hail to grapefruit size broke out car windows in Lone Grove. Baseball hail was also reported that same night in Springer and Dougherty, OK.
The 2011 storm season’s parting shot came May 24th when several violent Supercells rolled across the region. Winds to 90mph damaged at least 70 structures in Ringling, probably from straight-line winds. A confirmed tornado touched down 4 miles west of Muenster in Cooke County but lasted only a short time and produced no damage. That same Supercell went on to produce a much larger tornado north of Ravia at 7:30 p.m. Power lines were brought down but no buildings were hit.
The Ringling storm moved eastward and produced a pronounced hook echo from Overbrook and all the way to Kingston as it traveled eastward, but a tornado was never spotted. However, this image of a very low-hanging wall cloud was captured SW of Madill around 8:15 pm:
Wall cloud image from Misty N.
So a very intense “storm season” 2011 is pretty much over. Severe weather might take place in Texoma anytime of the year, but the northward shift of the jet by June keeps the bulk of the intense storms away from the Red River Valley during the summer months.
A severe “mini-season” often returns for a few weeks in September and October as cold fronts begin moving southward for the fall. These episodes are generally limited in tornado production compared to the spring.
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