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Information on Tornadoes in North Dallas Texas

December 25, 2015 tornado damage in Garland, TX

Living in Tornado Country

Collin County sits inside the U.S.'s famed Tornado Alley and Dixie Alley. Click here for maps.

If you've moved here from an area where tornadoes are not a common threat, let me assure you that you need to take the threat of tornadoes seriously. We'll share with you where to take cover in a tornado, the difference between a tornado watch & a tornado warning, tornado "season", and more.

What is the Difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning?

If a tornado warning is issued in your area: Take cover now!
If a tornado watch has been issued in your area: Be on the lookout.

From the National Weather Service: "Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center for counties where tornadoes may occur. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states. Tornado Warning: Take Action! A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar."

tornado damage December 26, 2015 Garland, TX Garland, TX December 26, 2015

When is "Tornado Season" in Collin County?

Tornado season is the time that a tornado is most likely to strike an area, but tornadoes can happen at other times. Tornado season in Collin County is typically late Spring and Fall thru December. This is the time when cold fronts and warm, moist air tend to clash the most.* Some of the worst tornadoes to hit the DFW in recent years occurred on December 26, 2015 and October 20, 2019.


What are the Warning Signs of a Tornado?

Tornadoes can hit without warning on beautiful, sunny days or during a violent storm.

Click here for warning signs of a tornado from the Storm Prediction Center of Norman, Oklahoma.

From Which Direction Do Tornadoes Come

Tornadoes may approach from any direction. Tornadoes can also change direction mid path.

Where Should I Take Cover During a Tornado?

Most of our homes in this area are built without basements, so the best we can do is go to the lowest floor, a room in the center of the house such as a closet or bathroom without windows. Cover with thick padding (mattress, heavy bedding) and if available, wear a helmet.

The greatest number of injuries during a tornado are the result of flying debris.

Detailed safety tips may be found here.

tornado South of Dimmitt, Texas taken on June 2, 1995 South of Dimmitt, Texas, June 2, 1995

What is the Fujita, or F, Scale?

The short answer is that this scale measures the significance of a tornado with the lowest rating "0" to the highest rating "5". For detailed information on both the historical Fujita Scale and the Enhanced Fujita Scale, click here.

But I Heard...

There are a lot of myths about tornadoes which will not be listed here lest you remember them as fact. Links are provided below.

Plan Ahead

As with any potential disaster, taking the time to make a plan for your family could result in a successful outcome. Identify the safest location in your home during a tornado warning, arrange where you will meet after the storm, keep protective coverings near your shelter space (sleeping bags, heavy blankets, helmets), and practice the drill with your family at least twice per year.

Also discuss with your family what to do if not at home. Identify an emergency contact person out of state in case cell services are down and family members in the immediate area are difficult to reach.

Map of Historical Tornadoes in Collin County

If you'd like to see a map of the tornadoes in Collin County, one has been provided here by the Tornado History Project.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center
Answers to just about every question you've ever entertained about tornadoes.

Tornado History Project
Database of U.S. tornadoes 1950-2016

Collin County Graphical Tornado Data
Map of tornadoes in Collin County from 1950-current. Also includes data of tornadoes by rating, intensity, month and time of day and historical number of tornadoes per year.

About the Photos

Gina Stone arrived on scene immediately following the tornado that hit Garland. She provided these to Collin County Guide.

The last photo was provided by NOAA.

Prepared January 29, 2018

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