Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms whipped through Central and North Texas on Monday. The storms damaged many homes and structures, but despite their breadth and ferocity, officials aren’t reporting any deaths.
Andrew Quigley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service – Austin-San Antonio office, tells Texas Standard that early warnings kept many Texans safe.
Listen to the interview with Quigley in the audio player above or read the highlights below:
– Surveyors with the National Weather Service are still trying to determine how many tornadoes touched down in Texas on Monday, where they started and the extent of the damage.
– So far, Quigley says storms seemed to have originated along the U.S. Highway 281 corridor that runs north through Texas, to the west of Austin, and then moved eastward to the Interstate Highway 35 corridor.
– The bad news is that storms moved over highly-populated areas during evening rush hour. The good news is that the National Weather Service began warning about storm risks on Sunday.
“We started to get messaging out already on Sunday afternoon about specific safety in terms of tornadoes and what you should be doing if you catch yourself on the road,” Quigley said.
One important note about tomorrow…models are initiating the storms along the I-35 corridor between 3-6pm. This is rush hour. As you go to bed tonight, begin to formulate a plan for your day tomorrow so you are not caught driving home in Severe storms! pic.twitter.com/vm0lcfhh6b
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) March 21, 2022
– Quigley credits the lack of fatalities to early warnings about the storm. He says fewer cars were on the roads because of those warnings. Schools and many businesses also closed early to keep people off the roads when the storm hit.
“That’s a testament to the fact that already, yesterday morning, our forecaster was telling people that if they didn’t have to be on the roads during the evening commute, they should make alternate plans. So I think people really heeded the warning,” he said.