When is Tornado Season in Texas

When is Tornado Season in Texas?

Texas is the number one state in the United State when it comes to tornadoes. Tornado season in Texas happens between April and June. In fact, between the year of 1951 and 2011, almost 62.7% of all tornadoes to occur in Texas happened during those three months. May is the hardest hit month for tornadoes in the state, with nearly a third of all tornadoes happening during that month in Texas each year. 

The average number of tornadoes that hit Texas every year is 132, making it the state with the most tornadoes annually. There are some areas of Texas that are more affected by tornadoes than others, and one of these is the northern part of the state. The Red River Valley of the northern part of the state is the area where tornadoes most frequently hit.  

When it comes to the density of tornadoes, Texas is 11th in the 50 states. Density means the number of tornadoes that happens for every 10,000 square miles each year. This was recorded during the years between 1951 and 2011. 

As one of the largest states in the US, this makes sense even if Texas has more tornadoes per year than many other places in America.

The Largest Tornado Outbreak in Texas History

The largest outbreak of tornadoes ever to occur in Texas between 1951 and 2011 was linked to a storm called Hurricane Beulah. This hurricane occurred in September of 1967. Between September 19 and 23, 1967, there were 115 tornadoes in just 5 days. All of these tornadoes were generated by the hurricane.

On September 20, 1967, 20 tornadoes took place in Texas on a single day. 

Worst Years for Tornadoes in Texas History 

Tornado Season in Texas

As it happens, 1967 was also the year when the highest number of tornadoes ever to happen in Texas took place. The number of tornadoes that year was 232.

The runner up was 1995 when the second highest number of tornadoes ever to happen in Texas took place. A total of 223 tornadoes happened in in the state of Texas that year. 

The most severe spring tornado outbreak in Texas took place in 1982, when there were 12 tornadoes in the month of May.

May is usually the worst month of the year when it comes to tornadoes in the state of Texas. The average number of tornadoes in May in Texas is 39.38.

The month of the year with the least number of tornadoes in the state is January, with 2.33 tornadoes on average. 

There can be outbreaks of tornadoes in the winter on rare occasions. One example was on December 29, 2006. It was on that date that there were 27 tornadoes. This was the largest total of tornadoes for the month of December to ever occur in Texas. Texas usually only has around 3.12 tornadoes in December. 

Why Texas Has So Many Tornadoes

The central region of the United States experiences enormous numbers of tornados, including especially strong and destructive ones. This is a result of North America’s geography.

May 27, 2015 Tornado in Texas
A tornado in Canadian, Texas – May 27, 2015

Ideal environmental conditions for the development of tornadoes are created when the effects of the Gulf of Mexico in the south and the Rocky Mountains in the west combine. These conditions make tornadoes much more likely to occur in Texas and other parts of the central United States than in other parts of the country (or on the planet). Tornado season in Texas is when these environmental conditions are just right.

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Why is Northern Texas Prone to Tornadoes?

Northern Texas is more prone to tornadoes than the southern parts of the state because it is within Tornado Alley. Tornado Alley is the area of the United States in which there are the most tornadoes as well as the greatest likelihood of extremely severe and damaging tornadoes. 

Tornado Alley is prone to the development of severe thunderstorms that generate tornadoes because it tends to experience contrasting masses of air that collide.

North Texas Thunderstorm
A powerful north Texas thunderstorm

When these air masses collide, extremely strong thunderstorms can result. In turn, these thunderstorms (particularly supercell thunderstorms) are especially likely to generate tornadoes. 

Most Common Spots for Tornadoes in Texas

Now that we’ve explored when is tornado season in Texas, let’s highlight where tornadoes are most likely to occur in Texas based on historical data.

Location in Texas Texas County Major City Involved Number of Tornadoes
Harris Gulf Coast Houston 212
Hale Panhandle Planview 116
Galveston Gulf Coast Galveston 106
Jefferson Gulf Coast Beaumont 100
Nueces Gulf Coast Corpus Christi 93
Dallas North Texas Dallas 82
Galveston Gulf Coast Galveston 79
Carson Panhandle Amarillo 79
Tarrant North Texas Ft. Worth 78
Lubbock Panhandle Lubbock 77

Tornado Safety in Texas

If you live in Texas or plan to move there, you must know and understand the state’s system of tornado warnings and how to keep yourself safe in one of these storms.

Check with your county and/or city to find out what its specific warning and safety system is.

As northern parts of Texas are even more likely to have damaging tornadoes than the southern parts of the state, it’s especially important to be prepared in those areas. Be aware of whether you have any outdoor tornado sirens in your area and find out where to check for tornado warning and watch alerts so you know about the storm as early as possible. 

Texas Tornado Season

Keep the following tips in mind and incorporate them into your tornado safety plan: 

  • The safest place to be in a tornado is in an underground shelter. If you do not have an underground shelter (such as a basement), find a place inside that it far away from windows, doors, or outside walls. This will help reduce the likelihood of injury. You should stay on the lowest floor of your home. This is very important. 
  • Protect yourself from any debris or glass that might end up flying around during the storm. You can do this by covering yourself in blankets or towels. 
  • If you live in a high-rise building such as an apartment building, you should go to a hallway and stay on the lowest floor, far away from any windows or exterior walls. 

Tornadoes are dangerous storms and it’s essential that you get yourself prepared so that you can stay safe. 

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