National Weather Service Chases Tornado's Path - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/07/03 - Rusk County

National Weather Service Chases Tornado's Path

   These are the footprints of a tornado. For many miles, a swath of broken power poles, snapped and uprooted trees, and flattened homes look like a giant beast had thrown a temper tantrum. The storm's journey through Rusk County Sunday afternoon is fairly easy to retrace, as long as you know where to look.

   "We had this area circled by our radar operator," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Mary Keiser. "And, so we started to check around this area and go drive down a lot of these smaller roads. And, then we found this [damage], right when we were starting to wonder if we were going to find anything."

   Keiser and her partner, Bruce Berkman have the job of determining if the trees were toppled due to straight line winds or a tornado. On a small county road just of Highway 259, Berkman points at two fallen oaks. "Both of these two trees are laying towards the north. And you go down here just to the east a little bit and you have things actually laying in towards a westerly direction. We know a tornado occurred. But, we didn't know the size of it, how wide the track was, how long the track was. We'll try to put together some of the damage and give it a rating."

   A house on county road 314 may help in the classification. It was a pier and beam, one story home. The tornado picked it up off it's foundation and threw it into the driveway. Berkman says that's typical of F2 level storms.

Further North, the search for damage continues. "We're still uncertain about this area, to the north of Chapel Hill," says Keiser while pointing to a black and white map of Rusk county. "Between there and Easton, is there more curving, and are these two related, or are these two separate events totally."

Stephen Parr, reporting.

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