Tornadoes touch down twice in two days near Lohn

For the second time in as many days, confirmed reports of a tornado touching down in the Lohn area had weather watchers and emergency coordinators looking to the skies and communicating over the airways to keep McCulloch residents informed of the severe weather alerts. The first sighting of a tornado occurred Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m. as a line of severe weather moved across the northern portion of the county. Skywarn weather watchers and a number of Lohn area residents spotted the funnel cloud as it descended and touched down in a field approximately one- half mile east of U.S. Hwy. 283 on County Road 504. According to witnesses, the twister touched down on two separate occasions for only brief periods of time that totaled only about a minute. The National Weather Service, however, could not confirm the tornado with Doppler radar reports, but eyewitness accounts and photos of the funnel cloud led to the twister being classified as what is known in weather circles as a land spout. Land spouts are tornadoes that form in the building stages of a thunderstorm and are usually well defined but are lacking in strength and usually do not cause much damage. The storm Tuesday moved on to the eastern portion of the county before redeveloping into a super cell in southern San Saba and Llano Counties. On Wednesday, a massive line of severe weather formed early on in West Texas and moved across the state and arrived in McCulloch County almost exactly 24 hours after the storm the previous day. Skywarn weather watcher David Huie was in the Lohn area just north of the town of Lohn and confirmed the touchdown of another tornado in a field between Lohn and F.M. 765. Lohn ISD Supt. Leon Freeman delayed the bus routes for 35 minutes to allow the storm to pass. According to Huie, the tornado formed quickly and was on the ground for less than two minutes. “Another witness, who was up on F.M. 765, and I both saw the funnel cloud,” said Huie. “It came out of nowhere and touched down in a field so there was virtually no major damage. If it had stayed on the ground too much longer, it might have destroyed a barn, but as quickly as it formed, it went away.” Shortly after those reports were relayed by ham radio to the NWS in San Angelo, the weather service issued a request for storm spotters to be sent to the Winchell area to investigate Doppler radar signatures that indicated significant rotation in the atmosphere. No McCulloch storm watchers were sent to that particular area, but information was relayed to Brown County emergency dispatch. Reports from Brown County heard on the ham radio frequency indicated significant wind damage from reported straight line winds. Reports from the Rockwood community also indicated significant wind damage from the storm with power lines and numerous tree damage. Rainfall totals in the northern portion of the county from Wednesday’s storm were more substantial. The speed with which the storm crossed the county left rain totals of 0.65 inch in Lohn in less than 45 minutes. Brady reported an official 0.45 inch as did Melvin while Bert Striegler recorded 0.38 inch in East Sweden. Forecasts were calling for additional chances of rain today with clear weather over the weekend before more chances come back in the forecast early next week.

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