The Commerce Journal

April 8, 2014

Tornado bigger than first thought

Brad Kellar
The Commerce Journal

Hunt County — Additional details were released Monday about the size and intensity of last week’s tornado which struck northern Hunt County.

The National Weather Service released its final analysis about Thursday night’s storm, indicating the twister was more powerful, stayed on the ground far longer and was much larger than originally estimated.

Meanwhile, Hunt County officials are coordinating efforts to help provide volunteer manpower for those affected by the tornado.

Preliminary estimates by National Weather Service damage survey teams had concluded the tornado, rated as an EF-1, traveled approximately 1.8 miles, was at least 200 yards wide and with estimated maximum wind speeds of 105 mph.

The final results released Monday confirmed the tornado as an EF-1, with peak wind speeds of 110 mph, which was on the ground for 11.1 miles and had a maximum width of 750 yards.

 The tornado was reported to have touched down 8.5 miles northwest of Greenville at 8:02 p.m. Thursday and remained on the ground for 18 minutes, lifting off at 8:20 p.m. Thursday 9 miles north north east of Greenville.

More than a dozen homes were lost to the storm, and dozens more structures were heavily damaged due to the tornado and high winds. Five people were reported to have received minor injuries.

Richard Hill, Director of Hunt County Homeland Security said he, County Judge Horn, and representatives from responding and participating agencies met Monday for an After Action Review to discuss what responses worked well and what improvements could be made.

Hill said his office has been contacted by groups wanting provide assistance and manpower to tornado victims.

Anyone needing assistance can call Hill’s office at 903-408-4282 or can contact him through email at homelandsecurity@huntcounty.net. The same contacts can be used by any other groups wishing to offer assistance.

Hill added the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) contacted the county shortly after the tornado to emphasize that no exemptions applied to what was acceptable for outdoor burning. Trees, brush, natural material and domestic waste — what normally is thrown in kitchen trash — can be burned. Items prohibited include tires, plastics, furniture, carpet, shingles, etc. 

Burning is to be conducted during daylight hours, when wind is less then 23 mph, and a responsible person is present during active burning.

Hill is also reminding affected residents to be careful when contracting with home repair and tree trimming services. Hill advised residents to make sure to check out those entities offering their service and not to pay in full before the job is done.