3 Damage Survey of the North Texas Tornadoes: 26 December 2015

Monday, 7 November 2016
Broadway Rooms (Hilton Portland )
Timothy P. Marshall, Haag Engineering Co., Irving, TX; and M. Fox, D. Cavanaugh, and M. Huffman
Manuscript (3.4 MB)

A tornado outbreak occurred on the evening of December 26, 2015 across portions of North Texas.  In all, there were 12 confirmed tornadoes in 8 counties.  Unfortunately 13 people lost their lives and there were numerous injuries as two of the strongest tornadoes struck Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs.  More than half of the people died in vehicles.  Damage survey teams were dispatched the next day in an effort to determine the characteristics of the tornado paths.  The strongest tornado traveled 13 miles through Garland and Rowlett and was rated EF-4.  About 1000 homes and business were damaged or destroyed by this tornado.  A second tornado traveled 8.5 miles from rural Waxahachie through Glenn Heights damaging or destroying a few hundred structures.  This tornado was rated EF-3.  Our paper will present the findings of the tornado damage surveys and show how the damage was rated to various damage indicators (DIs).  We found that tornadoes exploited weak links in building connections which sometimes led to more severe building damage.  Thus, we adjusted the EF-rating downward where we encountered such poor construction.

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