Texas: Severe weather and tornado outbreak

On Monday, March 21, we received warning that severe weather was heading for the Austin area. We let our employers know that at any time, we may have to shut down without any notice, but we weren’t worried.

Tornado watch

At 3 p.m., we received a tornado watch. As I’ve heard before, a “watch” means all the ingredients are there, but none have formed or been spotted.

Tornado watch image from the NWS San Antonio/Austin Twitter account.


The FEMA iPhone app also sent an alert for the tornado watch.

We are currently located in Bastrop county, which is a county east of Austin (which is mostly in Travis county).

We shut down our computers and electronic equipment after receiving the watch alert, and I watched the @NWSSanAntonio profile for updates on Twitter on my iPhone. I also tracked the storm on my RadarScope app (the Pro level, which shows lightning).

Tornado warning

Right before 6 p.m., we received a tornado warning, complete with the emergency alert from both of our phones.

Notifications on my iPhone from FEMA and the emergency alert system.

We continued to watch the radar and Twitter for updates, but the radar showed that the bulk of the storm was going to the SW and NE of the RV park.

We were talking with our next door RV neighbor when I saw on the radar that tornado rotation had formed, and we looked up at the sky. There it was, in the distance.

It was moving away from us, but I think it touched down at least once before it actually touched down in the city limits of Elgin. You can clearly see debris flying in the air in the next video.

By 6:45 p.m, the tornado was clearly out of our sight, and headed for the city of Elgin. There are plenty of news stories about it, especially since someone in a pickup truck ended up driving through it as it touched down.

Needless to say, seeing a tornado this close was not on our bucket list. And we discovered that there is no suitable building for a tornado shelter at this RV park – the front office and laundry room all have a lot of windows.

After the tornado

The severe weather wasn’t done after the tornado passed us by. We still had a tornado watch until 1 a.m., with torrential rains, hail, and a flash flood warning. Needless to say, we didn’t get a lot of sleep.

The severe storm with lots of rain and hail.
A close up of the storm radar showing the hail, wind, and storm path. We are in the area where the pink is located.

The day after

The good news is that after all the hail and torrential rain, we have no hail damage on the RV or the Jeep. As a matter of fact, the solar panels not only survived unscathed, but they are now clean. 🙂 Very happy for that outcome. Call me overly prepared, but I took video of the RV and the Jeep pre-tornado just to make sure we had a record of the condition prior to the storm.

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