SPC Stats

Path length: 13.04 miles

Width:  550 yards

Fatalities:  10

Injuries:  468

Rating:  EF4

County:  Dallas, Rockwall

A very strong storm system produced 12 tornadoes across parts of North and Central Texas on December 26, 2015.  The strongest that day was rated EF-4.  It began in Sunnyvale, TX (Dallas County).  Several mobile homes were destroyed in this area.  The tornado then traveled through the communities of Garland and Rowlett causing tremendous damage and loss of life. 

There were 10 fatalities.  Nine of these were vehicles as the tornado crossed Interstate 30 at the President George Bush Turnpike.  One fatality occurred in a collapsed home in Rowlett.  400 homes were destroyed in Dallas County.  22 businesses had some degree of damage with one being completely destroyed. 

The tornado spent most of its time in Dallas County, traveling just over 9 miles.  It did cross into western Rockwall County before dissipating over Lake Ray Hubbard.

Tim Marshall performed a damage survey with the NWS Dallas/Fort Worth.   I have included a link to that full survey.  It was noted that Google Street View was an important tool in the survey.  It was helpful in “determining what buildings looked like before the tornado, especially when buildings had EF3 and greater damage.”  Here is an example of a before and after.   

Two sources of aerial imagery were also used.  They were from the Dallas Morning News and the City of Garland.  Per the survey, “The first EF4 damage occurred along Crestpoint Lane where all walls toppled on two, single-story and one, two-story home, leaving a pile of debris in their back yards.”  It wasn’t far from this area that the tornado hurled several vehicles from Interstate 30 where nine were killed.  

The tornado reached its max width in Rowlett along Windjammer Way.  “More than a dozen lakefront homes along the bluff sustained up to EF4 damage.  Several two-story homes collapsed, and debris scattered to the northeast.”  Nine people huddled in a shelter and there were no injuries.  Another 12 were saved in a partially below ground shelter.  

Tornado Path

The path in black shows the SPC coordinates:  Start: 32.796 / -96.5894      End: 32.9669 / -96.495

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

Images via NWS Fort Worth

Images via Tim Marshall Survey

"Example of high quality aerial imagery used in this study. Source: City of Garland."
"School walls fell outward during the tornado leaving the steel-frame intact. Close examination (see inset) revealed that nails attached the bottoms of the walls to the concrete foundation and walls were not attached to the steel frame."
"This above ground shelter was all that remained after the tornado. Nine people took refuge inside the shelter and escaped injury."
"This flipped SUV end up in the back yard of a home that sustained EF2 damage."
"Fence post was removed then driven upside down into the ground near Shields Elementary School."
"Portion of a metal post that pierced the front panel on a vehicle."
"Childs plastic seat impaled wood-fiber siding on a gable end."
"Chain link fences rolled up into balls."

Videos

Our Archived Podcast About This Event

Tweets

Newspaper Clippings

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Note:  There are some images/videos in our summaries that were licensed to us to be used only on this website. If you would like to use an image/video in your project or blog, please contact us and we will grant permission if possible.

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