Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2016 Vol. 63 No. 2

A Christmas to Remember Neighbors Helping Neighbors DPS Region 1 Tornado Response

City of Garland

The December 2015 Christmas storms impacted a wide portion of the state of Texas. In particular, areas in Region 1 were devastated by a series of tornadoes that touched down on the evening of December 26. The strongest tornado produced EF4 damage in the city of Garland as well as EF3 damage in Rowlett. This tornado produced a continuous path of damage for approximately 13 miles in Dallas and Rockwall counties. The tornado caused nine fatalities, most of which occurred near the intersection of Interstate Highway 30 and the President George Bush Turnpike.

December 2015 Christmas storms

Another tornado produced EF3 damage in rural parts of Ellis County before turning north through the cities of Ovilla and Red Oak and crossing into the city of Glenn Heights. This tornado also produced a continuous path of damage for approximately 13 miles in Ellis and Dallas counties.

Two tornadoes also were confirmed in Collin County. One produced EF2 damage near Copeville and another produced EF0 damage near Blue Ridge. These two tornadoes resulted in three fatalities, two in Copeville and one in Blue Ridge.

In total, there were nine confirmed tornadoes and 12 fatalities during the afternoon and evening of December 26.

December 2015 Christmas storms

Emergency management partners from across the region came together, forming one response unit to aid their neighbors in the hour of need. Representatives from the surrounding local jurisdictions, the North Central Texas Council of Governments , regional public works emergency teams, emergency operations center support teams, the regional Citizen Corp emergency response teams as well as many state partners including among others Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Military Forces, Texas Highway Patrol, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Task Force 1, Texas Task Force 2 and Texas Division of Emergency Management, rallied support and services to the impacted areas.

As clean up began and the needs of the impacted citizens were assessed, the cities of Garland and Rowlett as well as the Dallas County Volunteer Organization Active in Disaster established a Joint Disaster Management Resource Center (JDMRC) in Garland. The Ellis County Office of Emergency Management established a Multiagency Resource Center just outside of their impacted communities. Both centers served three functions: volunteer reception, donations management and client disaster service. It was a place for volunteers to register and assist with relief efforts and for organizations to receive and distribute donations to tornado survivors. The DPS Driver License Disaster Response Unit joined the JDMRC to issue replacement licenses and state-issued IDs on the spot to impacted individuals. To date, both centers have assisted more than 775 families.


As the impacted jurisdictions transition into long-term recovery, TDEM is leading a joint effort to conduct damage assessment to determine the financial scope of the incident, and the road to rebuilding even more resilient communities has begun. This disaster serves as a reminder to all Texans about the importance of being prepared for disasters. Make a plan with your family and your community, and don’t forget your pets. Plan how to stay safe and be able to communicate during any disaster that can affect your community. 

Enhanced Fujita Scale

Fujita Scale EF Scale

3-Second Gust Speed (mph) EF Scale 3-Second Gust Speed (mph)
F0 45-78 EFO 65-85
F1 79-117 EF1 86-109
F2 118-161 EF2 110-137
F3 162-209 EF3 138-167
F4 210-261 EF4 168-199
F5 262-317 EF5 200-234

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