TYLER, Texas (KETK) – It is severe weather season in the Piney Woods, and our East Texas Storm Team once again put together a Severe Weather Special in hopes of helping you get prepared and stay informed.
Strong storm systems have already made their way through East Texas with wind, rain and tornadoes. Roofs get blown off of buildings, trees fall on homes and after every round of severe weather, people are left without power.
The key to weathering the storm? Stay prepared and stay aware. Through this severe weather special, we intend to help you do just that before, during and after the storm.
BEFORE THE STORM
WHY DOES TEXAS GET SO MANY TORNADOES?
Over 1,300 tornadoes happened across the U.S. in 2022, and roughly 160 of those were in Texas.
There are several reasons why Texas gets so many tornadoes. Aside from being a generally large area, the geography of the Lone Star State plays a large role. In the “Before the Storm” video above, Meteorologist John Adams explains exactly what it is that makes Texas so active.
The month of May consistently brings the most tornadoes, with April and June coming in second and third place, respectively. There is a secondary tornado season in the fall that brings fewer storms.
HOW TO STAY SAFE IN MANUFACTURED HOMES
Meteorologists emphasize the importance of taking cover from tornadoes in site-built structures, rather than manufactured homes. In 2022, there were 23 tornado fatalities and 15 of those were in mobile homes, according to Warning Coordination Meteorologist Charlie Woodrum with the National Weather Service.
Data suggests that you are 15-20% more likely to be killed in a mobile home than you are in a site-built structure. In the video above, Chief Meteorologist Carson Vickroy explains the three-part NWS plan to protect residents as threatening weather approaches.
HOW YOU CAN GET ALERTS FOR SEVERE WEATHER SITUATIONS
Before severe weather strikes, it’s important to be prepared in any way you can. This includes having several ways to receive weather alerts, even when power goes out. In the video above, Meteorologist Andrew Samet gives a demonstration of a NOAA Weather Radio and explains other sources of information available to you.
In addition to that, it’s important to have a severe weather safety kit, including items like:
- First aid kit
- Phone chargers
DURING THE STORM
WEATHER WATCHES VS. WARNINGS
Once the elements are in place for a severe storm, conditions can elevate from bad to worse at any given moment.
In the video above for the “During the Storm” segment of our special, Chief Meteorologist Carson Vickroy gives an explanation of weather watches and weather warnings.
WHERE TO TAKE SHELTER
Meteorologists recommend weathering the storm in a site-built structure, but some parts of these structures are safer than others. See the video above to watch as Meteorologist John Adams explains which areas in your house are safest in the event of a tornado.
Severe weather checklist:
- Find a sturdy shelter you can take cover in if you live in a mobile home
- Have an emergency kit
- Have two sources to get weather information (such as a NOAA Weather Radio and the East Texas Storm Team App)
CAN YOU ALWAYS SEE A TORNADO?
A tornado may or may not be immediately visible, but one thing is certain: Never go out looking for one.
The bottom line, Meteorologist Andrew Samet explains, is to not wait until you see a tornado to take action. He details how meteorologists identify tornadoes on radar using real-world examples from right here in East Texas.
KETK.COM EXCLUSIVE: FORMATION OF HAIL AND TORNADOES
Watch this digital exclusive to learn more about how hail and tornadoes form:
AFTER THE STORM
Many severe weather events bring flooding with them. Flash flood watches and warnings might be issued, and conditions could be dangerous outside.
It takes only six inches of water to float a person away, 12 inches of water to lift a small vehicle or SUV and roughly 18 inches of water can sweep away even a large vehicle.
ASSESSING THE DAMAGES
If you ever wonder who assess damage after a severe weather event, as explained in the video above, it depends on which region of East Texas has damage.
Tornadoes and straight-line winds can create similar damage, uprooting trees and damaging structures. Both can leave devastating damage in their wake. In the “After the Storm” video above, Meteorologist Andrew Samet has real photo examples of each kind of damage, and how to tell the difference.
KETK.COM EXCLUSIVE: DIFFICULTIES OF TRACKING STORMS IN EAST TEXAS
For some East Texas cities like Tyler, there is a lack of quality radar coverage. In this digital-exclusive segment, Carson Vickroy explains how Tyler is nestled in an area between two radar sites, making it harder to detect storms.
ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS
KETK and FOX51 viewers sent in their severe weather-related questions to the East Texas Storm Team. Watch them answer your questions in the video above.