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Strongest Saturday tornado in east Texas reached wind speeds of 125 mph

A viewer shot this picture of a funnel cloud near Carthage Saturday evening. (Source: Ricky)
A viewer shot this picture of a funnel cloud near Carthage Saturday evening. (Source: Ricky)(Ricky)
Updated: Mar. 29, 2021 at 11:04 AM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - The National Weather Service has confirmed three tornadoes occurred in east Texas during Saturday’s storms.

The first tornado has received a preliminary rating of EF-2 with peak estimated winds of 120 MPH, a path length of 20.67 miles and a maximum width of 500 yards. It touched down at 6:04 p.m. eight miles south southwest of Rusk. near the Russell Cemetery off FM 23. It would cross US 69 with intermittent damage on CR 1101. It crossed FM 343 where the weather service said it intensified and widened. Several hundred trees were snapped continuously along the tornado’s 500 yard wide path along CR 1211 and CR 1209. The tornado then weakened before lifting in extreme northwestern Nacogdoches County northwest of Sacul.

Cherokee County tornado path
Cherokee County tornado path((Source: KLTV))

The second tornado which impacted Mount Enterprise has been preliminarily rated EF-2 with estimated peak winds at 115 MPH. It had a path length of 21.28 miles and a maximum width of 300 yards. It touched down about one mile southwest of Mount Enterprise at 6:59 p.m. where it uprooted trees in an open field southwest of town. It continued to cause shingle damage on several homes. One home had its roof mostly removed near the intersection of US 84 and W. 5th St. The tornado continued and damaged a church steeple as it crossed US 84. It continued to snap and uproot trees and produce shingle damage as it passed along the north side of town. After moving out of Mount Enterprise, the tornado continued to uproot and snap trees until it reached several homes on the shore of Lake Murvaul. Here, the tornado increased in intensity as it snapped and uprooted trees and damaged the shingles on many homes. The tornado crossed Lake Murvaul and weakened as it began to produce more sporadic damage. The weather service says a preliminary analysis indicates the tornado lifted after uprooting trees northeast of the lake and northwest of Gary City. While the preliminary analysis does not show a continuous track, the weather service says data from aerial surveys may indicate that there was one continuous track to just south of Carthage.

Mount Enterprise Tornado path
Mount Enterprise Tornado path((Source: KLTV))

The third tornado has been given a preliminary EF-2 rating with estimated peak winds of 125 MPH, a path length of 16.68 miles, and a maximum width of 1600 yards. It touched down at 7:38 p.m. four miles south southeast of Carthage near US 59. Here, it downed and uprooted approximately 10 hardwood and softwood trees. It intensified as it ran parallel to FM 2517 and ripped the roof off a single-family home. The tornado continued to completely destroy three metal outbuildings and shift another home off its foundation. At this location along CR 405, it tossed an antique vehicle 50 yards and wrapped sheet metal around approximately 10 trees. It continued to snap large softwood trees along CR 407. The tornado crossed FM 699 and caused moderate roof damage to a brick home near the intersection of CR 407 and CR 408. A single-wide manufactured home utilizing a pan anchorage system was pulled free from the anchors, destroyed, and some of the debris was blown a couple of hundred yards into a field to the east. The tornado would widen considerably and produced a wide swath of snapped trees north and south of FM 2517, likely numbering well into the hundreds, especially in an area along CR 448. As the tornado crossed HWY 31, a large outbuilding was destroyed, but portions of the wooden frame remained, anchored by bolts to the foundation. In this same area, a large pine tree was uprooted and fell onto a single-wide manufactured home, killing one person and injuring another. The tornado continued northeast, snapping and uprooting trees as it traveled north of FM 2517. It crossed CR 470, 471, and finally lifted just east of CR 332 at 8:05 p.m.

Panola County tornado path
Panola County tornado path((Source: KLTV))

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