SPC Stats

Path length: 25.1 miles

Width:  400 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  40

Rating:  F3

County:  Harris, Liberty

A total of 6 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 TX.  Path length was 25 miles.  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.  

There was significant damage though especially in NE Houston.  A total of 12 homes, 18 mobile homes and 13 small businesses were destroyed.  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.  

Storm Data Entry

Tornado first touched down in Northeast Houston near Loop 610 and McCarty Road.  The path of the damage was approximately 25 miles long and the path width varied from 200 yards up to 1000 yards.  The tornado funnel remained aloft for a good percentage of its duration. This was indicated by the tremendous damage to treetops and absence of damage on the ground at the same location. Damage included:  12 homes destroyed, 34 homes heavily damaged, 94 homes moderately damaged, 18 mobile homes destroyed, 13 mobile homes damaged severely and considered unsafe, 13 small businesses destroyed, and 171 families affected.  The one fatality occurred when a man’s pickup truck was thrown off the road into the woods as he tried to outrun the tornado.

Tornado Path

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

Used county coordinates provided by the NCDC database.

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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