Path length: 23.3 miles

Width:  440 yards

Fatalities:  5

Injuries:  12

Rating:  F4

County:  Frio

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 28.83 / -99.22   End:  28.82 / -98.83      

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.


A tornado given a rating of F4 moved just over 23 miles eastward through parts of Frio County, TX on April 15, 1973.  It began about 8 miles west of the Frio Airport.  It moved across the airport and the Melon community passing 3 miles south of Pearsall.  It ended 15 miles due east of the airport.  There were 5 fatalities.  All were occupants of two cars traveling on Interstate 35 as the tornado crossed that area.  Injuries included 3 others in the cars and residents of homes.

8 homes were destroyed and several others were damaged.  Three airport hangars were damaged and 8-10 airplanes were destroyed.  122 other airplanes sustained damaged.  One-inch-thick asphalt topping ripped off one of the runways.  30 head of livestock lost and about 13,000 acres of crops destroyed.  

Newspaper Clippings


We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the April 1973 Storm Data Publication, and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:


  • SPC/NCDC list a 440 yard width. (1/4 mile)
  • Grazulis has the width at 400 yards.  Mention in his summary though the funnel was up to 3/4 mile wide.
  • Storm Data lists a 3/4 mile width.


  • Storm Data list 8 injuries.
  • Remaining sources have 12 injuries.


      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      April 1973 Storm Data Publication

      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1136.

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