The National Weather Service in Houston declared a tornado emergency for the first time in its history, according to a representative.
This tornado occurred as part of a larger storm system that swept through the region on January 24. Another storm system brought a heavy accumulation of rain in north Texas, colder temperatures, and flurries of snow in some areas, but no accumulation, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Houston issued a tornado emergency for Deer Park, Highlands, and Baytown during the storm.
Tim Cady, a meteorologist for the NWS in Houston and Galveston, explained to The Dallas Express that several tornadoes touched down on January 24, with the most impactful of the group moving through the southeastern portion of Houston into Pasadena.
“We only issue a tornado emergency when we are very confident that there is a large and destructive tornado that’s really threatening to people and they need to take immediate action,” said Cady.
This storm continued to track eastward and left significant damage in its wake, affecting buildings, trees, and power infrastructure. No fatalities were reported.
The National Weather Service in Houston confirmed EF3 (severe) damage in Pasadena and EF2 (considerable) damage in Southeast Houston on January 25. The organization had tweeted footage of the tornado passing through Jefferson County.
The NWS attributed the development of this storm to a low-pressure system moving along the Gulf Coast that mixed with warm air and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, combining with other elements like wind shear to create the necessary conditions for strong storms to form.
Other tornados were confirmed via radar as being located near Chambers County, Pearland, and west of the area near Brazos Bend State Park.
Cady said that it is “very unusual” to see a strong tornado in the Houston area during this time of year and that the severe weather season around that area normally peaks from March to May.
He noted that it is rare, though not unprecedented, for powerful tornados to appear at this time of year. A strong tornado touched down in the region in November 1992.
Houston survey teams are still assessing the total impact left behind by the January 24 tornado.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that he would join multiple agencies to survey damages done to the city.