Wow, amazing day! Tornado warned storm plowed through the area just 4 miles south of Frisco after 7pm bringing widespread high wind reports and some tornado damage to areas just west of Frisco. I took the liberty to take screen shots of the storm as it moved through the area, and draw a storm track on a Google map so you can see just how close we came. But first, a brief history and timeline. The timeline is relevant to storm events reported near Frisco and not a complete list.
- 4:30pm I notice a cluster of supercells merging into a large storm complex near Abilene TX about 130 miles west of Frisco.
- 5:00pm this storm appears to have evolved into a severe line of storms looking like a bow echo. This storm is in a favorable environment and at current speed will reach Frisco by 7:30pm
- 6:04pm Tornado Warning is issued for Denton county, does not include Frisco yet but the storm’s track is still set to move very close to Frisco.
- 6:40pm Tornado is spotted on the ground in Roanoke, 22 miles WSW of Frisco. Spotted by Amateur Radio operators.
- 6:43pm Tornado Warning is issued for Denton, Collin, Tarrant, Dallas and Rockwall counties. This includes Frisco and The Colony.
- 6:50pm Tornado spotted by retired NWS employee, brief touchdown in Flower Mound, 15 miles WSW of Frisco.
- 6:53pm Tornado ripped roof off and collapsed wall to apartment building in Flower Mound, 15 miles WSW of Frisco.
- 6:56pm Tornado sirens finally start to sound for Frisco, note the 13 minute discrepency. This is EXACTLY why I tell everyone not to trust the sirens.
- 7:00pm I get out of work, the storm is now less than 8 miles away from Frisco,
- 7:05pm I drive one mile west along Warren Pkwy. At the intersection of Warren & Legacy I observe power flashes on the horizon about 3 miles to my WSW. At this time I turn around and head back home, 1.5 miles away.
- 7:12pm I arrive at home just as the very high winds and rains hit. Sirens are still going off.
- 7:14pm The strongest rotation made a last minute right turn and passes 4 miles south of Frisco, into Plano. The sirens stop at this time.
- 7:14pm 72 MPH wind gust observed at Frisco Fire Station on Main Street and Preston Road.
- 7:19pm 78 MPH wind gust observed at a school in Plano, near Independance and Spring Creek.
Allow me to reiterate how close this storm was. The storm’s center of circulation passed only 4 miles south of the T-Mobile site in Frisco (where I was at the time). At the time the tornado warning was issued for Frisco, the storms current track took it within 1/2 mile of the T-Mobile site in Frisco. Below is a Google map I just made demonstrating this.
The red circles indicate tornado sightings and tornado damage reports. The red line indicates the path of the storm’s center of circulation. The blue line indicates the storms projected path when the tornado warning was issued for Frisco. The purple circle shows where the T-Mobile building is, and where I was at the time. As you can see… this was a close call. If the storm had maintained its current track and not turned right in Lewisville, Frisco could have been hit head on.
Above is a radar snap from 7:09pm CDT, when the storm’s center of circulation was at its closest to Frisco. Left side is standard precipitation and the right is base velocity. You can see a weak reflectivity couplet that is unfortnately a tad obscured by the large yellow warning box. The yellow and red icons indicate areas of wind damage, and tornado reports respectively.
At this time, some damage reports in Frisco have come in according to Fox News KDFW. Some homeowners had their fences blown down, satelite dishes blown off their houses and windows broken. Another reports states at least three seperate 18-wheeler trucks blown off the road and tipped over due to high winds, mostly around Fort Worth. The Denton County Sherrifs Office reported a minor explosion at a gas station due to the weather. Across the metroplex, a whopping 260,000 homes are reported without power.
Now we will wait and see what the NWS in Fort Worth states after they conduct their damage surveys, before we officially declare this as a tornado. Considering the numerous spotter reports, storm damage reports, and the radar velocity couplet, there is a good chance this will be classified as a tornado event. I will publish updates to this once the storm damage survey is released.