"A Battle Of Air Masses": Why The Tornado That Hit Dallas Was So Destructive | News Univision Natural Phenomena

Thousands of people without light, dozens of homes damaged, businesses destroyed, lamp posts and traffic lights fallen. That left the tornado that hit Dallas on Sunday night. Although these types of phenomena are normal for this era, it had particularities that made it even more devastating.

"The strange thing in this situation is that normally in metropolitan areas the tornadoes do not remain touching land for so long, that was very unusual. Normally it touches land by a couple of streets and goes back up," explains Nelly Carre├▒o, the Univision meteorologist News in Dallas, who estimates that the phenomenon was on the ground for about 40 minutes and traveled about two miles across even four major Dallas highways. "They usually play in rural places, but this happened in areas of high population," he adds.

He toured towns like Garland, Richardson, Rockwall and Sachse, located in Dallas and Collin counties, all areas with no less than 12,000 inhabitants, according to state records.


For the head of meteorologists at Univision Houston, Gast├│n Heredia, if that same tornado with its 70-mile-hour winds had occurred in a desolate town, "almost nothing would have happened."

In the United States, they explain, there are two times of tornadoes that coincide with the changes of seasons, from spring to summer and from summer to autumn. The first is in May, when temperatures begin to rise and where, they say, the greatest number occurs; the second, between October and November, when temperatures begin to fall.

According to Gast├│n, annually in the United States there are an average of one thousand tornadoes and Texas is one of those with the highest reports: between 150 and 155.

In photos: the powerful tornado that caused destruction in Texas and left about 130,000 people without electricity

Texas is right on the tornado corridor that runs from the center and midwest of the country to the east. So what happened on Sunday was not a surprise and in fact, the news had warned about its possibility: the surprise was where it ended up touching earth.

Transition month

When Carre├▒o gave his weather reports on Sunday afternoon, he already warned that Dallas would live two rounds of storms: "First, it had a low probability because we had what we call an atmospheric layer, which is basically a stable air zone at high levels of the atmosphere. But we mentioned that if that atmospheric layer was broken due to the approaching front, this possibility of a very large tornado and hail was going to be unleashed, which is what happened. "

The meteorologist explains that just on Sunday the temperature in Dallas touched 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) and when a cold front approached from the northwest, the atmospheric layer broke and this circulation of strong winds and hail occurred. To that is added the humidity that came from the Gulf of Mexico that also brought winds from the south. She catalogs the process as a "battle between air masses" that ends in a tornado.

"October is a transition month, because the temperature rises to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and drops to 40 degrees in less than 24 hours. That's why we have tornadoes in October in Dallas," he says.

For now, in Texas the weather conditions improved on Monday and the state is risk free. But the front that brought him moved to Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and western Tennessee, where there is a new alert this Monday for possible tornadoes.

Seeing the devastation left by the tornado in the towns of Dallas, Carre├▒o says the city was fortunate to not register dead or seriously injured.