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Old 01-04-2008, 07:06 PM
 
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Living here in NJ, we have our share of storms, but I'm totally clueless when it comes to tornados......

On my previous post I mentioned we're looking for farm land for horses/cattle with mild winters. One area, that was suggested to us from another forum member, that sounded like it would really fit what we are looking for, was Stephenville Tx.

I've started to do some research on tornados in Texas, and frankly the weather / area sites I've come across just make it look scary. I guess really only because I've never had to deal with one, and never knew anyone who had dealt with one.

Are tornados a huge concern through the entire state of Texas, or are there areas that don't get any tornados? Does Stephenville get tornados?
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Grapevine, Texas
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I've lived in North Texas for 36 years and I have never seen a tornado, nor have I had a house hit by one. I did have a near-miss, but that was out in West Texas (San Angelo). Honestly, I would not worry about tornadoes. The odds are so much in your favor of never having an encounter with one! There are a few in Texas every spring, but they are usually small. The big ones are MUCH more common in Oklahoma and Kansas than in Texas. Just make sure your homeowner's insurance is paid up!
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:36 PM
 
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Texas ranks number one in the country for number of tornadoes, deaths, injury, and damage $$. Below is a link that tell you some stats for Texas tornadoes.

http://www.disastercenter.com/texas/tornado.html

Erath County, where Stephenville is located, has had only 35 tornadoes in 57 years and no deaths were reported. That county has only had one F3 and the remainder of lesser strength.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:26 PM
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I am no expert on this question, but as an "interested layman" I will just add that parts of Texas get almost no tornadoes, while some parts get more than their share.

In terms of the most strong/violent tornadoes per square mile, as was mentioned, Oklahoma takes first place. Kansas comes in second, I think. Texas, overall, ranks much lower...when OVERALL area size is considered.

Yet, Northwest and North Central Texas are on the southern end of the hottest tornado country in the world (the northern boundaries being somewhere in southern Kansas). Also known as the "Heart of Tornado Alley."
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:59 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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I go to Stephenville alot (I may actually be going tomorrow :O). Yeah they're tornadoes but the threat is over exaggerated. I've lived in the Tornado-y part of Texas and never seen one. Its usually in the spring but strong storms come in the summer and early fall sometimes too. Mostly Spring... Uhh...
You'll like stephenville it has stuff to do... like They have a dairy festival every July i think, where they pass out free stuff that has to do with dairy (milk, Gilled cheese sandwiches, Cheese Burgers, ICE CREAM, and other goodies... as well as water and fruit... as they are the number one dairy producing county in all of Texas) The original Dr. Peper factory is also nearby in Dublin. Stephenville is said to be and advertised as so) to be the Rodeo Capital of the world... Billy the kid was also killed nearby in Hico, so they have a nice museum there... and some nice restaurants throughout the area.
The cost of living isn't that high, and you can find all your needs in the city... if not Fort Worth is an hour Northeast.... Dallas 2 hours.
The Spring Flowers are nice, too... you will literally see rolling hills of yellow and orange it is beautiful.

As for Tornadoes just make sure you know what to do, have an area ready. Pay attention to the weather in the spring, and know if there is a warning in the county or a county adjacent to Erath, keep an eye for watches too...
You might fear storms but many people here do too, but there is also a degree of fascination. You might enjoy seeing some of these strong storms as they can be exciting... well to me they are, and I'm scared of them too LOL.... Tornadoes should be taken seriously but don't be paranoid. Don't freak out either, just cause of a silly warning... Just keep an eye out and make sure you get near a shelter quick, if you hear a 'train' as some people say... TAKE SHELTER

Last edited by CMDallas; 01-05-2008 at 12:03 AM.. Reason: additional info :)
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Portland, TX. (next to Corpus Christi)
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I live in Wichita Falls, Texas, which is about an hour and a half north of Stephenville. Wichita Falls is in the "Tornado Alley" area. I have been here for 13 years, and have seen 2 tornadoes (none of which hit Wichita Falls, just nearby within the county). Like CMDallas mentioned, having a tornado plan is a must, especially if you live in the N. Central Texas area (however, if you live anywhere east of a line from Midland to Del Rio, you should have a tornado plan). An underground tornado shelter is good, if you can afford one. Most cities that experience a higher volume of tornadoes have community shelters available, and have literature on what to do in a tornado situation.

Do know though, that your odds of actually getting directly hit by a tornado are very small. Texas is a big state, and when you hear on the news or read in the newspaper that Texas has been hit by an or by multiple tornadoes, it tends to make people stereotype the whole state as being hit by it. To me, it kind of reminds me of the sensationalism that goes with earthquakes in California, or Hurricanes that hit New Orleans (which, mind you, are quite rare). Once it happens, most people jump on the bandwagon thinking the whole area is always besieged with these Acts of God, which is quite contrary to the truth. Take these stories with a grain of salt. Disasters can happen everywhere, but it doesn't mean you have to live under a rock and try to avoid living life.

Just my .02


Ian
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txsizzler View Post
I live in Wichita Falls, Texas, which is about an hour and a half north of Stephenville. Wichita Falls is in the "Tornado Alley" area. I have been here for 13 years, and have seen 2 tornadoes (none of which hit Wichita Falls, just nearby within the county). Like CMDallas mentioned, having a tornado plan is a must, especially if you live in the N. Central Texas area (however, if you live anywhere east of a line from Midland to Del Rio, you should have a tornado plan). An underground tornado shelter is good, if you can afford one. Most cities that experience a higher volume of tornadoes have community shelters available, and have literature on what to do in a tornado situation.

Do know though, that your odds of actually getting directly hit by a tornado are very small. Texas is a big state, and when you hear on the news or read in the newspaper that Texas has been hit by an or by multiple tornadoes, it tends to make people stereotype the whole state as being hit by it. To me, it kind of reminds me of the sensationalism that goes with earthquakes in California, or Hurricanes that hit New Orleans (which, mind you, are quite rare). Once it happens, most people jump on the bandwagon thinking the whole area is always besieged with these Acts of God, which is quite contrary to the truth. Take these stories with a grain of salt. Disasters can happen everywhere, but it doesn't mean you have to live under a rock and try to avoid living life.

Just my .02


Ian
I too live in Wichita Falls, a city which some wit once designated the Capital of Tornado Alley. Actually, Oklahoma City would probably take that dubious honor, but for its size, Wichita Falls has taken more than its share of hits by deadly tornadoes (1958, 1964, and 1979).

But anyway, the advise offered above and by CMDallas is very good. Also, something that I have found a lot of newcomers from non-tornado prone states get confused by is the difference between a Tornado WATCH and a Tornado WARNING. The former means atmospheric conditions are FAVORABLE for tornadic storms, while the latter means one has actually been spotted or indicated by radar and it is time to take your safety precautions.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by TexasReb View Post
I am no expert on this question, but as an "interested layman" I will just add that parts of Texas get almost no tornadoes, while some parts get more than their share.

In terms of the most strong/violent tornadoes per square mile, as was mentioned, Oklahoma takes first place. Kansas comes in second, I think. Texas, overall, ranks much lower...when OVERALL area size is considered.

Yet, Northwest and North Central Texas are on the southern end of the hottest tornado country in the world (the northern boundaries being somewhere in southern Kansas). Also known as the "Heart of Tornado Alley."
Here's another chart that states frequency when overall area size is considered.

The Disaster Center Risk of Tornado by State

It does seem odd Massachusetts ranks 2nd.

Also, the very strongest recorded tornado to ever hit a state was in Moore, OK in 1999.

One county in Texas that has only had 3 in 57 years is Real, part of the Hill Country. I would imagine that El Paso, Brewster, and others out that way have had few as well.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:52 AM
 
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Here's a map showing what parts of the USA are most tornado prone:

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Old 01-05-2008, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Canine*Castle View Post
It does seem odd Massachusetts ranks 2nd.
I think the reason for this is the very small size of Massachusetts, a factor which skews the stats somewhat.

There was also an article here while back that said Florida, in terms of absolute numbers, got more tornadoes than any other state. However, it qualified by saying that the vast majority of them were very weak "spinoff" types and/ or "waterspouts". Much different than the strong/violent "classic" tornadoes which are more common in the central and southern plains.

The Moore, Oklahoma, tornado you mentioned? I think that was the one in which the recorded windspeeds reached 318 MPH, which would be (if I remember the F-scale correctly) only 1 MPH below the "inconceivable" F-6!
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