CHEROKEE COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – There is “considerable” tornado damage in Cherokee County, and “moderate” damage in Rusk County, according to preliminary reports.
The National Weather service confirmed that an EF-2 tornado with 120 mph winds southwest of Reklaw in Cherokee County. They also confirmed an EF-1 tornado tore through Mount Enterprise.
EF, which stands for Enhanced Fujita Scale, is used to give tornadoes ratings based on estimated wind speeds and related damage.
EF-1 is classified as “moderate damage,” including roof damage, broken windows, exterior doors damages or lost or mobile homes overturned or badly damaged.
EF-2 is classified as “considerable damage”, including roofs torn off homes, homes shifted off their foundation, mobile homes completely destroyed, large trees snapped or uprooted and cars can even be tossed.
“Most structures are more built for horizontal winds, and this is why tornadoes are so difficult for mobile and manufactured homes is because that uplift, that vertical motion that tornadoes have, structures just aren’t built to withstand that.”
National Weather Service teams are out in affected areas to determine the tornado strength.
“It’s actually trees that are very easy to help us determine whether we had an EF-0, EF-1, EF-2, even up to an EF3,” Charlie Woodrum, NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist, said. “What happens when you get to an EF-3, is that trees get debarked where you have a stub left with bark removed.”
Major damage was reported in some areas, as well as injuries. One fatality out of Panola County was reported after a tree fell on a woman’s home.
Debris cleanup underway and the Red Cross will be on site at heavily impacted areas.
“This is the time where we all really, really need to be on our toes and need to be watching the weather forecasts and be ready for those high alert severe weather days,” Woodrum said. “Be watching when those tornado watches come out. If you live in a mobile or manufactured home, evacuate before the storms hit and before warnings are issued. If you wait until that tornado warning is issued, it might be too late.”