10 Deadliest Tornadoes in Texas History According to NWS
When it comes to tornadoes, Texas averages more per year than any other state. In fact, according to World Population Review, Texas averages about 155 twisters each year. It's no wonder that The Lonestar State is part of the infamous "Tornado Alley". Many of those tornadoes land in unpopulated areas but many cut a destructive path across The Lonestar State wrecking havoc and becoming deadly. Here's a look at the 10 deadliest tornadoes in Texas history according to the National Weather Service.
10. Jarrell Tornado
On May 27, 1997, Jarrell Texas experienced an F5 tornado. The twister killed 27 people, injuring many more. Over 40 homes were completely destroyed, many of them completely ripped off of their foundation. What was weird about this tornado, is that it traveled in a south-southwest direction instead of the normal southwest to northeast direction. As you can see in the following image, this tornado was a monster.
9. Saragosa Tornado
This F4 tornado happened on May 22, 1987. It killed 30 people, injured over 120 more, and destroyed 80% of the town. Of those killed, 22 of them occurred at the Guadalupe Hall where people had gone for a children's graduation ceremony. Most of those deaths were from parents and grandparents who had shielded the children from the debris.
8. Zephyr Tornado
This tornado happened around midnight on May 30, 1909. The F4 twister killed 34 people and injured 70. It destroyed a large portion of the town by damaging 50 homes, 6 businesses, 2 churches, and a high school.
7. Karnes-Dewitt Tornado
On May 6, 1930, this F4 tornado covered both Karnes and Dewitt counties killing 36 people and injuring 60. The reason for the death toll being as high is because the twister struck many poorly constructed homes that provided little safety.
6. Frost Tornado
This twister struck on the same day as the Karnes-Dewitt tornado on May 6, 1930. It touched down near Bynum in Hill County, then into Navarro County where it hit the town of Frost where it killed 25 people. It caused additional deaths in Rankin, Bardwell, and Ennis making the total deaths 41 with over 200 people injured.
5. Wichita Falls Tornado
On April 10, 1979, a huge F4 tornado touched down just outside of Wichita Falls. It damaged several homes and businesses before going into Wichita Falls where it eventually killed 42 people, injured 1700, destroyed over 3000 homes, and left 20,000 people homeless. Here is an image of the devastation left by that tornado.
4. Glazier-Higgins-Woodward Tornado
This multi-county and multi-state tornado started in Texas and then struck Oklahoma on April 9, 1947. It touched down northwest of Pampa Texas with its funnel reported at times to be 1 to 2 miles wide. It destroyed the town of Glazier and most of the town of Higgins before crossing over to Oklahoma then dissipated in Kansas. The total number of lives lost between the three states was 181 while almost 1000 people were injured.
3. Rocksprings Tornado
On April 12, 1927, the town of Rocksprings was devasted by an F5 tornado. This twister destroyed 235 of the 247 buildings in town. It was responsible for the deaths of 74 people and injuring 205 people which was literally a third of the population of Rocksprings.
2. Goliad Tornado
This F4 twister killed 114 people, which is the same as the number one deadliest tornado below, but injuries were fewer as the Goliad tornado injured 250 people. The tornado hit around 4 pm near the town of Berclair on May 18, 1902, and was reported to be at least a mile wide.
1. Waco Tornado
The number one deadliest tornado in Texas history happened in Waco Texas on May 11, 1953. This twister killed 114 people while injuring 597 others. The F5 tornado destroyed about 600 homes and thousands of other buildings and vehicles. Some who survived had to wait for over 14 hours to be rescued. You can see some of the destruction left behind in this image.