SPC Stats

Path length: 25.1 miles

Width:  400 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  40

Rating:  F3

County:  Harris, Liberty

A total of six tornadoes occurred on December 13, 1977 across portions of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In this summary, we look at an F3 that hit in NE Harris and SW Liberty Counties in Texas.  The path length was 25 miles.  It began near Loop 610 and McCarty Road in NE Houston. 

Per Thomas Grazulis, the path ran parallel to and north of US-90.  Storm Data states the width varied from 200 yards to 1000 yards and that the tornado remained aloft for a good part of the time. “This was indicated by the tremendous damage to treetops and absence of damage on the ground at the same location.”

There was significant damage though especially in NE Houston. A total of 12 homes, 18 mobile homes and 13 small businesses were destroyed.  Another 125+ homes had some other degree of damage. There were 40 injuries and sadly one fatality. Billy D. Hester, a superintendent for a construction company, was killed in his pickup truck and he tried to outrun the tornado. It lifted his truck and hurled it into an oak tree.  

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  Start: 29.78 / -95.28      End: 30.03 / -94.98

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

Newspaper Clippings

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the December 1977 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • Extremely slight discrepancy here…SPC/NCDC has a 25.1 mile path.
  • Storm Data and Grazulis has a 25 mile path.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      December 1977 Storm Data Publication

      newspapers.com

      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1199.

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