We all saw big clouds creeping in on Lampasas late yesterday afternoon as conditions got right for turbulence in the atmosphere above.
Alas, the hopes for a good general rain did not yield any rainfall reports at any of the usual gauges around the area.
But…in some spots, it happened big-time! We were amazed in fact that, at our El Rancho Notso Grande home several miles west of Lampasas, there was a pretty good storm and a hard-fast rain. We didn’t get home until it was all over but discovered on our arrival that almost two inches of rain had come, along with wind that was strong enough to scatter lawn furniture and trash cans and twist and deflower some large shrubs.
We had earlier seen a picture and reports of a tornado on Facebook and we heard about storm damage in town, though we didn’t see any rain in town ourselves. So-o, this was curious.
We talked to Fire Chief Reece Oestreich this morning and his explanations and follow-up press release revealed what really happened.
“On Wednesday 08/23/2018, Lampasas Fire Department and Police Department received reports, based on a social media post, of a tornado touchdown on the west side of town. The Lampasas Police Department reported that no 911 calls were received reporting any damage or that a tornado had been spotted in Lampasas. City emergency responders including the Fire Department, Police Department and Public Works responded to the area to assess conditions. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth was contacted regarding any warnings that may have been issued for the Lampasas area, and they advised that no warnings were issued and that they had been monitoring the storm in Lampasas with no signs of rotation. It was later determined that a photo posted on a local social media of a funnel cloud in Lampasas was not taken in Lampasas and was used as an “example” according to a media outlet.”
He went on to say that the National Weather Service (NWS) said that what happened in Lampasas Thursday evening was the result of microbursts, intense small-scale downdraft produced by a thunderstorm or rain shower.
Weather sirens were not activated in Lampasas, he said, because conditions did not meet the threshold for activation. Sirens are activated if conditions exist for tornadoes, thunderstorms accompanied by winds of 70 mph or higher, or hail that is golf ball sized or larger.
He also urged citizens inside and outside the city to sign up on Code Red to received emergency notifications via text or email.
As to what did happen in Lampasas. The thunderstorm that developed seemed to pass through a small sliver of the county, including the Hoffpauir Addition in Lampasas.
There it blew over trees and broke tree limbs, some of which caused damage to homes. The majority of reports of damage came from this area, though it is known that the storm passed west of Lampasas, headed toward Lometa. Curiously, none of the official rain gauges at the airport or the several LCRA gauges picked up any noticeable rainfall.
As to the reports of a tornado, that is not what it was, according to the NWS, evidently there was something…but we can’t call it a tornado.
The Chief also noted that the City of Lampasas will be assisting with the brush removal in the area that was affected by this storm. Anyone hauling brush from the storm themselves will not be charged for a trip to the Citizen’s Collection Station. Curbside pick-up for brush will be collected for the area generally west of Willis Street and south of 6th Street.