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The F-5 tornado that hit Jarrell.

I took this photo at 3:50 p.m., aproximately two and half miles south of Jarrell on I-35.

 Photograph Copyright 1997, All rights reserved

Jarrell Tornado from 2.5 miles

“Is there an F-5? What would that be like?” She asked.

After a long thoughtful pause the storm chaser replied, “The finger of God.”

From the Warner Brother’s Movie  “Twister.”

“This was probably a 500 or 1000 year tornado outbreak.”

Larry Eblen, National Weather Service

“It’s a big stovepipe, very wide, moving south just west of I-35... I see debris, I think it’s going through Jarrell.”

Ham radio traffic, 3:50 p.m., May 27, 1997



An F-5 tornado devastated a subdivision on the west side of Jarrell, Texas. In its six mile long track, the tornado chewed a path 4000 feet wide on May 27, 1997, at 3:48 p.m leaving total destruction, many injuries and 27 deaths behind.

The response from the surrounding communities was overwhelming, With the help of the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Agency, HEB Supermarkets and many other businesses and individuals, the rebuilding began even before the clean up was finished.

As in all small towns, everybody knows everybody. No one in or around Jarrell was left untouched by the tragedy. Jarrell has settled back into a day to day routine. But, it’s doubtful that things will be exactly the same for many years to come.

Smashed car Broken Tree

 This is why vehicles should be abandoned if a tornado approaches.

Row of bent over metal fence posts.

The remains of a large tree and house on the edge of the tornado’s path.

Three flower tributes on a foundation.

A heartbreaking reminder of the human loss.

Sheet metal wraped around a wooden fence post.

The force of the wind bent the fence posts in the direction the tornado moved.

Bent frame of a metal building.

The remains of a steel office and garage building.

Remains of a stone foundation.

 The remains of a rock house. The cardboard sign is a note to clean up crews, “Don’t destroy please.”

A piece of sheet metal wraped around a wooden  fence post. The dark spot is dirt blown into the face of the metal.

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