National Weather Service Team surveying damage left behind following weekend tornadoes

A team from the Houston/Galveston National Weather Service Office has been examining damage from this weekend’s storms. FOX 26 Meteorologist John Dawson discussed this process with Warning Coordination Meteorologist Dan Reilly.

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Tornadoes in Houston are not unheard-of in January, but it certainly is not the expected pattern.

"It was like what we might see in the spring or fall. Going from a very warm period, having a front, and having tornadic storms develop along ahead of that front," said Warning Coordination Meteorologist Dan Reilly. "We can get storms and tornadoes in January that’s not unprecedented. But the weather in general from December into January feels more like a fall transition to me."

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Also uncommon for Houston is that some tornadoes occurred at night.

"That makes them even more dangerous because people are sleeping and might not be aware that tornadoes are out there. We can get tornadoes in bunches at night as well, I remember Halloween 2015 was another example," said Reilly.

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After the storms have passed, and it’s safe, trained weather service employees go look at the damage in person.

"Once we’ve identified areas to survey, we look at damage patterns. Are the trees all laying down in one direction or are they in all different directions? That can tell us whether it’s a tornado or some strong straight-line winds. And once we determine it is a tornado, we’ll rate the tornado based on the damage it does. So it’s kind of a multistep process," said Reilly.

That multistep process is still underway. So far, six tornadoes have been confirmed.