Richmond, TX F3 (F2?) Tornado – September 13, 1974

SPC Stats:

Path length: 3.6 miles

Width:  73 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  2

Rating:  F3

County:  Fort Bend

There were 2 Texas tornadoes confirmed on September 13, 1974.  The strongest is in the SPC Database as an F3.  Thomas Grazulis lists the rating as F2.  The tornado traveled 3-3.5 miles through parts of Fort Bend County hitting the Rosenberg and Richmond areas.  The Polly Ryon Memorial Hospital sustained damage.  Newspaper articles reported that there were no injuries at the hospital and many of the patients were transferred to a nearby nursing home.  Per an article on the 13th in the Odessa American, a sheriff's deputy said that in the business area of Richmond, the tornado "stacked up cars like cordwood."  The Old Calvary Episcopal Church which was built in 1878 was flattened.  

Storm Data Entry

Witness reported hearing a distinct locomotive noise just before the tornado touched ground.  Primary damage was to a hospital, a chapel and to 3 homes.  Tornado appeared to dip up and down with 5 distinctive points.  Distance between points of touchdown varied from 1 1/2 miles to 200 yards.  Tornado moved generally from SW-NE but there appeared to be  a slight turn toward the east between successive touchdown points.  Two people were injured, one slightly and one seriously.  

Additional Information from Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes

  • There was $150,000 damage in Richmond.
  • 3 homes hit, 1 unroofed.
  • The hospital had roof damage.
  • Small, 100-year-old church was leveled.

Tornado Path

SPC Coordinates:  Start: 29.58 / -95.75      End: 29.62 / -95.72

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the September 1974 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 3.6 mile path length.
  • Grazulis and Storm Data have a length at 3 miles.

Width:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 73 yard width.
  • Grazulis and Storm Data have a width at 75 yards.

Rating:

  • SPC/NCDC have this tornado rating at F3.
  • Grazulis has an F2 rating.

Sources:

The Storm Prediction Center

NCDC Storm Events Database

September 1974 Storm Data Publication

newspapers.com

Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1167.