Deadly May tornadoes tore through Houston in 1983

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Friday, May 20, 2022
Twisters hit Houston in 1983, killing 11
Watch the newscasts from May 20 and 21, 1983 when twisters hit Houston, killing 11

HOUSTON, Texa (KTRK) -- It was nearly 40 years ago that a swarm of killer tornadoes ripped through the Houston area, killing 11 people and injuring dozens of others.

The spring storms rolled through in late May in 1983.

The storm cut a swath from Brenham to Beaumont, smashing into mobile home parks, including one park that was hit once in the morning and once in the evening.

A swarm of tornadoes ripped through the Houston area, killing 11 people on May 20, 1983

The storm flipped over mobile homes, killing a 14-year old girl at a trailer park in Spring. Two children were killed in Waller County, one of them, sucked out of their friend's arms as the tornado peeled the roof off their mobile home.

Some of the victims were killed when pine trees were toppled onto their houses. Twelve to 15 tornadoes were reported touching down in Harris County alone.

Chief Meteorologist Travis Herzog says this was a stormier-than-normal May that occurred after the peak of a very strong El Nino. The El Nino did suppress hurricane activity that year, but one of the four named storms that occurred was Hurricane Alicia. The category 3 hurricane made landfall about 3 months after this terrible tornado outbreak, and it reportedly spawned almost two dozen tornadoes across the eastern half of Texas after it made landfall.