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Severe Weather in Texas: 2008

Severe weather in Texas can be categorized by two factors: loss of life and the cost of damage estimating over $1 million. The following events were included because they caused an extensive amount of destruction and in some cases, fatalities were also a result of the severe weather.

March 31, 2008: Hail. Northeast Texas. Severe thunderstorms developed across the Red River Valley of northeast Texas, many producing large hail that damaged car windows, skylights, and roofs in Texarkana and elsewhere in Bowie County. Damage was estimated at $120 million.

April 10, 2008: Tornadoes. Johnson County. A lone supercell thunderstorm evolved in the afternoon on April 9, producing tornadoes and large hail. A tornado touched down near Happy Hill and traveled northeast 3 miles to Pleasant Point, where it dissipated. The F-1 tornado, with maximum wind speeds of 90-95 mph, destroyed three homes and damaged more than 30 homes and other buildings. Damage was $25 million.

May 14, 2008: Hail. Austin. A severe thunderstorm southwest of Austin moved northeast across downtown Austin causing extensive damage from winds and large hail. Large trees and branches were knocked down, and baseball-sized hail and 70-80 mph winds blew out windows in apartments and office buildings, including the State Capitol. Total damage was estimated at $50 million.

August 18, 2008: Floods. Wichita Falls. An unseasonably strong upper-level storm system moved over North Texas, and several waves of heavy thunderstorms caused high precipitation and widespread flooding in the Iowa Park, Burkburnett, and Wichita Falls areas. In Wichita Falls, many homes were flooded and residents were evacuated by boat. At least 118 homes were flooded, 19 of which were destroyed. Burkburnett and Iowa Park were isolated for a few hours because of street flooding. Damage was estimated at $25 million, and Governor Rick Perry declared Wichita County a disaster area.

September 12, 2008: Hurricane. Galveston. The eye of Hurricane Ike moved ashore near the city of Galveston. The central pressure was 951.6 millibars, with maximum sustained winds around 110 mph, which made Hurricane Ike a strong Category 2 storm. There were 12 deaths directly related to Ike, with 11 occurring in Galveston County due to storm surge. There were at least another 25 fatalities indirectly related to Ike, either due to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators, accidents while clearing debris, or house fires from candles. The majority of property damage at the coast was a result of storm tide. Damage was typical of a Category 3 or 4 storm, and collectively, damage amounts were near $14 billion in the counties of Harris, Chambers, Galveston, Liberty, Polk, Matagorda, Brazoria, Fort Bend, San Jacinto, and Montgomery, with an estimated $8 billion of that due to storm surge in coastal Galveston, Harris, and Chambers counties.

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