Is This One of the Smallest Tornadoes in East Texas History?
Moore, Oklahoma...Joplin, Missouri...Tuscaloosa, Alabama...Jarrell, Texas, when it comes to some of the most devastating tornadoes in recent history, those are four that come immediately to my mind. With the exception of the Tuscaloosa tornado of 2011 (EF4), all the ones mentioned were EF5 category tornadoes with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour.
The strongest tornado of all time in America is considered to be the one that is called the 'El Reno Tornado'. It occurred in 2013 near El Reno, Oklahoma. Radar indicated that some of the vortices of this tornado spawned winds in excess of 300 mph. However, damage survey crews could only find damage on the ground in line with winds of EF3 tornado force.
So...that's the strongest, but what about the weakest tornado in history. I don't think any records are kept on that, but if there were, a tornado last Thursday near Hallsville, Texas might be in the running.
According to a release from the National Weather Service in Shreveport, on Thursday afternoon at 4:38, a tornado touched down on a pond a few miles north of Hallsville. Since a survey crew from the NWS found no damage on the ground, they had to rely solely on the video from a drone from Live Storms Media that captured the tornado (video below).
Based upon that video footage, surveyors from the National Weather Service put together these specifics on the tornado. It lasted for less than a minute, actually less than 15 seconds if you time it out on the video. The tornado travelled about 50 yards across the pond and never got more than 10 yards wide. The twister lifted and dissipated before it even got to the tree line at the end of the pond. This tornado travelled about half the length of a football field, got only as wide as the length of a car, and was shorter in duration than brushing your teeth. Surely, this has got to be one of smallest tornadoes on record.
The NWS officially categorized the tornado as an 'EF unknown' since there was really no damage to analyze. A tornado warning was issued for western Harrison County for this radar indicated rotation, but this was the only evidence of a touchdown.