A line of severe storms produced what a meteorologist calls a rare combination of multiple tornadoes, hurricane-force winds and softball-sized hail in north-west Texas, killing at least four people and causing significant damage around the town of Matador. National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Ziebell says the supercell developed about 8pm local time on Wednesday near Amarillo before striking Matador, injuring nine people in addition to the four killed and causing widespread destruction. Ziebell says the storm later produced 109mph (175km/h) winds at Jayton in addition to the four-inch or larger hail.
“That is certainly rare to see all at the same time, killer tornadoes, hurricane-force winds and softball-sized hail,” Ziebell said.
Wednesday “was definitely a rare combination of high-end wind shear and storms of extreme instability”, according to Ziebell.
There were widespread power outages across the region, with more than 900 customers without power in the Matador and Jayton areas, according to poweroutage.us.
The worst damage appeared to be in Matador – a town of about 570 people 70 miles (112km) north-east of Lubbock in Motley county.
A phone call to the Motley county sheriff’s office was not immediately returned.
The Texas department of emergency management district coordinator, Bill Durham, said more information would be released later on Thursday morning.
Reports from storm chasers and meteorologists on social media showed considerable damage around Matador, with damaged homes, utility lines, trees and infrastructure.
Ziebell said thunderstorms were likely to continue on Thursday, but the risk of severe weather with tornadoes was unlikely.
Wednesday’s tornado outbreak came six days after a tornado left three people dead and more than 100 injured in Perryton in the northern Texas Panhandle.
Source : TheGuardian