HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KPEL News) - Tornadoes are a major concern as one of the worst weather conditions a region can experience. The worst of the worst can cause millions of dollars in damage, take lives, and leave people without homes and businesses.

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Texas has had some major tornadoes in the past. The deadliest tornado in the state's history struck shortly after 4 pm on the day after Mother's Day in 1953, according to the National Weather Service. It touched down north of the town of Lorena, which is in McLennan County. The system moved north-northeast toward Waco.

"On a radar screen at Texas A&M University, the tornadic storm developed a hook shaped echo," the NWS explained. "Nearly 1/3 of a mile wide, the massive F5 tornado crossed Waco on a path that ran almost south to north, killing 114 persons and injuring 597. It destroyed around 600 homes and other buildings and damaged over 1000, including 2000 vehicles. Some of the survivors had to wait up to 14 hours for rescue."

Tornado near Friona, Texas
UIG via Getty Images

In a recent list of counties across the country most vulnerable to tornado damage, two Texas counties rank No. 2 and No. 3. Overall, the Lone Star State has five counties in the Top 25.

Which Two Counties Are Most Vulnerable to Tornado Damage?

The website RoofGnome has compiled a list of the Top Counties Vulnerable to Tornado Damage,  and at No. 2 on the list is Harris County, while at No. 3 we have Collin County.

What makes them the most vulnerable? Harris has the highest incidence risk on the chart (Collin comes in at No. 3 there), while Collin has the highest financial risk (Harris is at No. 2).

Harris County is home to Houston, which is a large population center in the state. Collin County is home to cities like Dallas and Plano.

The Stats

Here's what RoofGnome details for Harris County:

No. 2: Harris County, Texas | 3 Biggest Cities: Houston, Pasadena, Pearland

Overall Score: 75.05

Tornado Risk Score: 100 | Rank: 1
Average Age of Homes: 39.23 years | Rank: 731
Share of Mobile Homes: 2.62% | Rank: 751
State Adoption of International Residential and Building Codes: 12 | Rank: 173 (tie)
Total Expected Annual Loss from Tornadoes: $354 million | Rank: 2

And Collin County:

No. 3: Collin County, Texas | 3 Biggest Cities: Dallas, Plano, Frisco

Overall Score: 70.81

Tornado Risk Score: 99.94 | Rank: 3
Average Age of Homes: 27.58 years | Rank: 938
Share of Mobile Homes: 1.72% | Rank: 814
State Adoption of International Residential and Building Codes: 12 | Rank: 173 (tie)
Total Expected Annual Loss from Tornadoes: $358 million | Rank: 1

Texas and Tornado Alley

Texas, particularly in its central region known as "Tornado Alley," experiences frequent tornadoes, mostly during spring and early summer.

The state's vast size and diverse geography contribute to its susceptibility to tornado activity. These tornadoes can range in size and intensity, from smaller EF0 tornadoes to more destructive EF5 tornadoes. Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico colliding with cooler air masses creates conditions conducive to severe weather, including tornado formation.

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"Tornado Alley" is a term for a part of the central United States where tornadoes frequently occur. It includes areas in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and sometimes nearby states.

Texans are familiar with tornado preparedness measures, and the state has implemented early warning systems and storm tracking to minimize the impact of these natural disasters.

Staying Safe During Tornadoes

To stay safe during tornadoes, follow these essential measures:

Have a Plan: Create a family emergency plan, including a designated safe room or storm shelter.


Stay Informed: Monitor weather forecasts and tornado warnings using a weather radio or reliable weather apps.


Designate a Safe Space: Identify the safest area in your home, preferably a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor without windows.


Prepare an Emergency Kit: Pack essential items such as water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, flashlight, and important documents.


Practice Drills: Conduct regular tornado drills with your family to ensure everyone knows what to do during an emergency.


Know the Warning Signs: Be aware of tornado warning signs like dark, rotating clouds, hail, or a loud roar.


Stay Sheltered: When a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter immediately. Avoid windows and cover yourself with a mattress or heavy blankets.


Have a Communication Plan: Establish a way to stay in contact with family members, especially if you're separated during a tornado.


Listen to Authorities: Follow instructions from local authorities and take evacuation orders seriously.


Stay Informed After the Storm: Be cautious of hazards like downed power lines and debris after the tornado has passed.

By taking these precautions, you enhance your safety and that of your loved ones during tornadoes.

These are the 10 Deadliest Tornadoes to Have Struck Texas Since 1900

Tornadoes are nothing new to us in East Texas or throughout the state of Texas. Being on the bottom end of Tornado Alley means we've seen some powerful tornadoes strike in our state.

Gallery Credit: YouTube, dissolve.com, newspapers.com

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