AccuWeather.com meteorologists watched in horror as two tornadoes were on the ground simultaneously, one hitting the highly populated Fort Worth area and the other hitting the Dallas area.
"I have never seen two tornadoes hit two large metropolitan areas at the same time before," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said, based on his 29 years of forecasting experience.
While it is quite rare for tornadoes to hit two major metropolitan areas at the same time, people have been asking: how rare is it for a tornado to hit Dallas?
Simply put, it is rather rare for tornadoes to hit cities, since cities cover such a small area of the country. However, the number of times that twisters have touched down in Dallas and Tarrant counties may be surprising.
"Over the last 60 years (since 1952), a total of 172 tornadoes have been reported in either Tarrant or Dallas counties, Texas. Of these, 42 have been rated at least an EF2 (wind speeds over 110 mph). The strongest, rated EF4, hit Dallas on April 25, 1994, killing three people and injuring 48. Neither county has ever reported an EF5-rated tornado," according to the National Weather Service. "There have been five killer tornadoes that have claimed 17 lives over the past 60 years in these two counties."
April is the most likely month for a tornado strike in Dallas, and May is the second most likely month.
*Information from the NWS (tornado numbers are since 1952)
Most Likely Cities in the U.S. to Get Hit By Tornadoes
Based on historical records, Dallas is not the most likely cities to get hit by tornadoes in the U.S., but it is high on the list.
"The most likely place to get hit by a tornado, based on the historical records of major cities is probably Oklahoma City," according to Harold Brooks, research meteorologist at NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla. "That's near the center location of the most likely place to have tornadoes to occur."
"There's a long history of tornadoes occurring in the metropolitan area. You need to look at some other places that are probably relatively close to that: Kansas City, Dallas, perhaps going east toward Jackson and Birmingham, Miss., are probably relatively close to those records," added Brooks.
The region of the country referred to as "Tornado Alley" extends from Texas through the Plains, where tornadoes most frequently develop in the U.S. This is due to the fact that dry air sweeps eastward from the Rockies, while deep moisture surges out of the Gulf of Mexico. The clashing of air masses becomes the battleground for severe weather.
A secondary zone noted for frequent tornado touchdowns is "Dixie Alley," which stretches from the Gulf states to the Ohio Valley. The proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and thus the ability to tap into Gulf moisture helps severe thunderstorms breed in "Dixie Alley."
"If we look historically, probably the city that has the biggest track record of having major tornadoes is St. Louis. The 1896 tornado, the 1927 tornadoes are adjusted for wealth of the country, are the two most damaging tornadoes in U.S. history. And then after that there's still three other violent tornadoes in 1959 and in 1967 and then in 2011. So St. Louis has the longest history of having those tornadoes even though they don't have perhaps as great of a chance of happening," said Brooks.
Thank you for your patience during our recent Comments outage. Comments have returned, including comments on previous stories & blogs before the outage. As before, Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
A shift in the overall weather pattern will bring the return of potent Atlantic storms to the United Kingdom from late January into February.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the first high-resolution images that were sent from its newly-launched GOES-16 satellite.
Much colder air will sweep into the eastern United States later this week and will have staying power well into February.
Fog will continue to limit visibility and cause slick surfaces across Germany over the next several days.
A pair of storm systems will dampen Republic Day celebrations across India on Thursday.
Residents picking up the pieces after violent thunderstorms ripped through the southeastern United States will face the return of wintry air late this week.
Storms packing heavy rain and mountain snow will take a break beginning during the middle of this week, while further drought relief looks promising.
Hypothermia is one of the main concerns for anyone who spends extended time outside in the cold.