Path length: 0.92 miles
Width: 75 yards
SPC coordinates: Start: 31.5313 / -96.5381 End: 31.5184 / -96.5341
Corrected Coordinates Based on Damage Reports and Satellite Imagery:
Start: 31.521446 / -96.536702 End: 31.530005 / -96.532366
Note: Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.
During the April 25-28, 2011 Super Outbreak, 34 tornadoes occurred in Texas. Most of the tornadoes produced damage in the EF0 range. Two were rated EF2. The remaining twisters caused EF1 damage. This summary explores one of the EF1 tornadoes that struck Groesbeck, TX.
The Groesbeck tornado was quick-hitting, and most of the damage was in the downtown area. Per the National Weather Service (NWS), the path length was just under a mile. The winds were estimated between 85-90 mph.
Sam Callis, director of maintenance at the courthouse, stated in the May 5, 2011, Groesbeck Journal that the tornado destroyed two four-ton air conditioning units on the courthouse roof. “They were tossed around like dice.” An antique window frame in the jury room of the 77th District Court “imploded.”
The Tire Shop on Ellis Street took a direct hit from the tornado. Per the Groesbeck Journal, “the roof and several beams and rafters were swept away during the storm, and glass was sucked out of vehicles that were parked just outside the building.” The newspaper stated that part of the roof was found later on top of The Antique Mall. Another section of the roof landed on city property nearby. “Ceiling tiles and personal belongings were strewn about the downtown area.”
Bill and Jeannie Thompson owned the Tire Shop. They were in the store with their son Terry and a few pets when the tornado hit. The family ran for cover and hid under an office desk. They were not injured. Their 10-foot Albino Burmese Python was not injured either. Per the Waco Tribune-Herald, it was, “slithering, unharmed, in a terrarium not far from the windows.”
The Groesbeck Journal shares a wall with the Tire Shop. “As the sheet metal roof peeled off the Thompson’s business, the glass windows just inches away on the Journal’s second story were spared.” The newspaper walked away with minor roof damage.
A large tree was uprooted and blocked part of the driveway at the U.S. Post Office in Groesbeck. The steeple of the First Baptist Church was found in the parking lot of a Sonic restaurant. A total of 40 businesses were damaged.
We gathered information for this event from the SPC/NCDC Databases, the April 2011 Storm Data Publication (SDP), and newspaper articles and found the following discrepancies:
The official SPC coordinates show a north-south path from near Jacinto Street, north of the downtown area to near S. Rusk Street. This does not appear to be correct based on eyewitness and damage reports. The Limestone County Sheriff at the time of the event, Dennis Wilson, told newspapers that “the tornado hit on the south end of Groesbeck near the Hickory Baptist Church, then came back down near the intersection of Texas 164 and Texas 14.” We could not find the Hickory Baptist Church. We have plotted on our map, the intersection of Texas 164 and Texas 14 (which is the same as Ellis Street). It would seem the tornado moved quickly from the SW to the NE right through downtown.
Teresa Penny from the Groesbeck Public Library
Sean Sutcliffe from the Waco Public Library
Groesbeck Journal – May 5, 2011
Waco Tribune-Herald – April 28, 2011
Crow Tribune-Herald staff writer, K 2011, ‘Groesbeck residents waste no time cleaning up damage from Tuesday night twister’, Waco Tribune-Herald (TX), 28 Apr, (online NewsBank).
2011, ‘National Weather Service: Tornado hit Groesbeck on Tuesday’, Eagle, The (Bryan-College Station, TX), 28 Apr, (online NewsBank).
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