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Old 03-28-2007, 07:51 PM
 
Location: CA
234 posts, read 409,800 times
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Default How often does Austin get freezing weather and/or tornadoes

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-28-2007, 07:57 PM
 
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Been here 2-1/2 years and have seen freezing weather twice. By freezing, I mean actual ice on the ground and a couple of snow flurries. If at all possible, stay home on those days!!

Never seen a tornado and honestly, I haven't seen anything even close to the thunderstorms we had on a regular basis in Florida. In fact, I love it when we actually get rain here, and when there's a little thunder and lightening too...well, that's just great!! The one weather phenomenon that happens here that I was not used to is hail. I haven't experienced it at all since I moved to Central Austin but when I lived in Northwest Austin we had quite a few hail storms. A garage definitely helps!
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Old 03-28-2007, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Marble Falls
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After 25 years just west of Austin, we probably get at least 1 good freeze each winter. This last January, it lasted @ 3 days - which is unusual; 1-2 days is more typical. Regarding snow, maybe every 3-4 years. And like the moderator says, we all stay inside 'cause we aren't experienced driving in the stuff (plus, the hills can be steep).

Tornadoes - we've been pretty fortunate - nothing in Austin proper that I'm familiar with. But an F-5 tornado obliterated part of Jarrell just north in 1997. Us locals won't forget that tragedy. Burnet had a bad one in 1973, and my town (Marble Falls) had a minor one in @ 2002. You just can't predict those things. Usually we hear of them just touching down & going back up in the clouds. I think that maybe all of the hills make it hard for a tornado to keep the momentum.

-Laine
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Old 03-29-2007, 05:54 AM
 
Location: Deep In The Heat Of Texas
2,640 posts, read 212,447 times
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Hills or mountains do not offer tornado protection.

One of the most dramatic cases that shows this was the F-4 tornado that hit the Teton Wilderness about 45 miles northeast of Jackson, WY, on July 21, 1987. The tornado went over mountains as high as 10,000 feet, blowing down mostly mature lodgepole pines from 80 to 100 feet tall.

Williamson County has had 53 tornadoes in the past 56 years.

The Austin area historical tornado activity is near the Texas state average. It is 80% greater than the overall U.S. average.

That is better than many areas of Texas.
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Old 03-29-2007, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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As noted above, tornados are relatively 'common' compared to the US but much lower than the rest of 'tornado alley'. Hills DO provide 'protection' - not from a tornodao, but they lower the likelihood greatly. Most tornados are artifacts of two large, stable air masses colliding, with one running over the other. This happens mainly on the great plains areas. This is not the only mechanism, so they will happen in other topography, but it makes them much rarer if you live in mountainous terrain. Mind you, Austin is hilly, not mountainous, so it is kind of in between. The last tornados that I can remember were in Jarrell (two of them) and one out near Cedar Park (Buttercup Creek neighborhood). The one in CP collapsed a grocery store roof, but I don't think anyone was hurt. The ones in Jarrell were devastating.

You should remember that many more people die due to lightning than tornados....
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Old 03-29-2007, 08:55 AM
 
Location: CA
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Default Thanks

Thanks for your responses. We just had a very odd week locally (hail and very windy). We had a few days of freezing. Perhaps a tornado, according to the newscast. This is UNHEARD OF in SoCal. It's good to be prepared for the extremes, and hopefully, never have to make use of the information.
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:34 AM
 
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The claim that hills (and other topographical barriers) decrease the "likelihood" of tornadoes is false. Insofar as there have not been any scientifically rigorous studies proving (or disproving) that topography plays a role in modifying the intensity and longevity of tornadoes.
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
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Pictures of the Buttercup Creek tornado damage...
Cedar Park Tornado
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
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And for some more light reading...

http://www.weather.gov/om/assessments/pdfs/jarrell.pdf

You won't escape tornadoes or freezing weather in Austin but compared to the weather you can get in the rest of the US, you should consider taking your chances because it's generally a pretty good climate. Unless of course you have had bad tornado experiences.

The only thing I hated about tornado weather warnings was that the vast majority of homes have no basement so you are stuck going to an interior room in your house which never felt remotely safe enough compared the our basement we had when I grew up in the Midwest. I didn't live in a very large house so it typically meant going into our one interior guest bathroom with my entire family trying to fit in. A friend of mine that lived in Forest Creek during the Jarrell tornado of 1997 actually had a storm shelter built when they had a pool put in in 1998. She said suffering through those storms in a closet with her two young sons had put her over the edge.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
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I live in Jarrell (well, just outside of it). I lived there in 1997. I don't have particular tornado issues, except for the fact that we now have a storm shelter and that I pay attention to how the air feels during tornado season.
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