Texans aren't unaccustomed to severe weather -- including tornadoes. When tornadoes strike, the damage is at times minimal, but they can also be disastrous. There is not much we can do but hunker down and hide from these powerful weather phenomena while they pass by us. Unfortunately, there have been many of these storms that have taken many lives across the state. Today we are going to look at the 10 Deadliest Tornadoes That Have Struck Texas and briefly talk about the devastating Canton and Van, Texas tornadoes from recent years.

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How a Tornado Forms

Tornadoes are a powerful, rotating mixture of warm and cold air. Most tornadoes form from what's called a supercell. These supercells are far more powerful than a typical thunderstorm. In a supercell is a spinning column of air called a vortex. That vortex sucks up the moist, warm air around it and expels cold, dry air toward the ground. This will cause the vortex to go from a horizontal spin to a vertical spin creating a funnel cloud that could eventually touch the ground (britannica.com). This is a rather simple explanation but I think you get the drift.

Van and Canton Tornadoes

In East Texas, we've seen our fair share of tornadoes. Over the last 10 years, we've seen two very powerful tornadoes, one in Van in 2015 and in Canton in 2017. The tornado in Van in 2015 was classified as an EF-3 and killed two people (tylerpaper.com). The two killed were the grandparents of one my classmates from Lindale High School. The Canton tornado in 2017 was classified as an EF-4 with winds topping 185 miles per hour (FOX 4).

Deadly Tornadoes in Texas

While those two storms were devastating to each East Texas town, both Canton and Van were lucky to not see any more casualties than what was reported. For the ten tornadoes we'll look at below, that was not case. The storms below produced large and very destructive funnels that destroyed homes and businesses and killed hundreds. All the information comes from weather.gov with links to various articles and YouTube videos going into more detail about the storm that moved through that area at that time.

These are the 10 Deadliest Tornadoes to Have Struck Texas Since 1900

Tornadoes are nothing new to us in East Texas or throughout the state of Texas. Being on the bottom end of Tornado Alley means we've seen some powerful tornadoes strike in our state.

Tyler, TX People Share 12 of the Best Places to Go When There is a Tornado Warning

We'd like to add to this list of safer spaces people where people can seek shelter in the case of a tornado in the Tyler, Texas area. So if you're aware of any public spaces good for taking shelter during tornadic storms, let us know so we can add them!

The Ten Most Tornado-Prone Counties in America

When it comes to the topic of tornadoes, Oklahoma is universally known around the world for producing some of the biggest, including the last F6 ever measured... but it'd probably surprise most Okies that the Sooner State doesn't even crack the top five of the most tornado-prone counties in America.


EDIT: This was originally posted in March 2023.