Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Austin

Damage survey finds no tornadoes in Thursday storm

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View a radar recap of the storm which hit Central Texas on June 11, 2009.

The National Weather Service completed a damage survey of Burnet, Williamson and Travis Counties.

Thursday night between 7 and 9 p.m. a large storm complex moved southeast through Llano, Burnet, Williamson and Travis Counties before weakening, mainly east of Interstate-35.

Strong wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour were recorded at the Burnet airport along Highway 281, with significant plane damage to several aircraft, as they broke loose from their ties and either flipped or skidded along the tarmac several hundred yards.

Across the street of the airport, several camper trailers were flipped and damaged, one was destroyed. Minor injuries occurred as most of these trailers were occupied at the time.

The strong winds struck the town of Burnet around 7:30 p.m. with the strong winds lasting for more than 15 minutes according to witnesses and surface observations.

Other roof and tree damage was seen throughout the city of Burnet, with large branches broken off trees and several others uprooted.

A few businesses lost roofs near the downtown area. There was no evidence of a tornado. Microburst straight line thunderstorm winds of 60-70 miles per hour most likely caused the damage.

A large swath of damaging winds continued east and southeast along Highway 29 into the town of Bertram. Bertram likely experienced even stronger winds of 70-80 miles per hour as the town received widespread tree and roof damage. Large trees were uprooted; some fell on vehicles and homes. Several businesses lost roofs or have roof damage.

As the microburst winds continued east along Highway 29, speeds decreased below severe limits with only isolated tree damage found between Bertram and Liberty Hill. No evidence of a tornado was found.

As the storm pushed into Williamson and Travis Counties, there were several reports of tornadoes in and around northwest Austin, from Cedar Park, to Anderson Mill and Jollyville. No reports of wind damage were confirmed in these areas.

Additional pictures from the public and media confirm that the cloud feature that residents saw over north Austin was not a rotating funnel cloud but a cloud feature called a scud cloud, a low-hanging cloud mostly associated with a downdraft and rain shaft.

Most pictures of this reported funnel/tornado were of this cloud feature taken from different locations within north Austin. Video clips taken of this feature also confirm that this cloud feature was not rotating.

A funnel cloud and tornado is a rotating column of air that is attached to the bottom of the storm. If that column of rotating air is in contact with the ground it is called a tornado. Funnel clouds and tornadoes normally rotate counter clockwise.

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