Timeline of May 28 Storm

On Sunday, May 28, 2017, severe weather impacted the Longview Texas area with heavy rain, winds, and an estimated EF-1 Tornado. Below is a timeline of the storm event.

16:50:29 (4:50:29 p.m.)  National Weather Service issues a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Smith, Marion, Harrison, Upshur, and Gregg County.  This warning includes the following information:  Hail damage to vehicles is expected.  Expect wind damage to roofs, siding, and trees.  Locations impacted include...Longview, Marshall, White Oak, Gladewater, Gilmer, etc.

16:50:39 (4:50:39 p.m.)  An automated CodeRED Weather Warning call for the Severe Thunderstorm Warning is broadcast to 4,977 people determined by the NWS to be in the path of the storm.

17:12:01 (5:12:01 p.m.)  National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning for Southwestern Harrison County, Northwestern Panola County, Northeastern Rusk County, and Southeastern Gregg County.  This warning includes the following information:  At 5:11 PM CDT a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near Tatum, or 14 miles southeast of Longview, moving southeast at 55 mph.

17:15:16 (5:15:16 p.m.)  PSC Shift Supervisor attempts to activate the Early Warning Sirens.  Despite the fact that this "warned" storm is south of Longview and moving away, her training has consistently been to sound the sirens anytime Gregg County goes under a warning until a weather official advises Longview is not in danger.

According to automated reported all of the sirens are contacted between 17:15-17:17 (5:15 - 5:17 p.m.).  
  • At some point during this activation, the Communications Center at 302 W Cotton (where the Activation Computer is located) is hit by 3 large power surges.  A network switch on that computer is destroyed, lights and auxiliary computers shut down, the emergency generator goes into auxiliary fault mode, and a radio associated with the digital recorder system is destroyed.
  • Following the activation process, Public Safety Communications Shift Supervisor is able to audibly verify activation of the siren closest to the Comm Center.  
17:25:26 (5:25:26 p.m.)  Gregg County SkyWarn advises that the "warned" cell is far south of Longview and that the warning will not affect Longview.

17:27:00 (5:27 p.m.)  Public Safety Communication Supervisor cancels the Early Warning Siren Activation.

18:46:31 (6:46:31 p.m.)  Automated reports from EWS Computer show all sirens were contacted during the activation.  Many show AC Fail suggesting power was already out at that location.  All sirens show a return to “standby” mode at 17:27 (5:27 p.m.).

On late Monday, May 29, 2017, the National Weather Service released the following information amending the above timeline for the May 28 storm:

16:53 (4:53 p.m.)  National Weather Service estimates that an EF-1 tornado begins 6 miles northwest of Longview. This estimate was determined after the storm event. 

17:03 (5:03 p.m.)  National Weather Service estimates that the EF-1 tornado ends 4 miles south-southeast of Longview. This estimate was determined after the storm event. 

17:07 (5:07 p.m.)  National Weather Service estimates that a second EF-1 tornado begins 2 miles east of Easton. This estimate was determined after the storm event. 

17:12 (5:12 p.m.)  National Weather Service estimates that the second EF-1 tornado ends 2.8 miles east of Easton. This estimate was determined after the storm event. 

Following the storm, the City of Longview conducted a series additional tests of the emergency warning siren system. 

May 31, 2017 Test:

Due to concerns about possible damage to the siren system, the City of Longview scheduled a siren test for Wednesday, May 31. During the May 31 test, all twenty of the city’s strategically located sirens sounded as they are designed to do. Additionally, the testing revealed that three of the sirens did not rotate fully. The most recent testing of the sirens conducted on March 1 showed there were no malfunctions. It is possible these three sirens were damaged in the storm. These sirens were scheduled for maintenance as soon as possible, and the technicians repaired the non-rotating sirens on Friday, June 9. The three sirens that did not properly rotate and were subsequently were located at 1600 Blueridge Parkway, 610 E. Loop 281, and 1602 W. Cotton St.  

June 7, 2017 Test: 
During the regularly monthly siren test on Wednesday, June 7, only eight of the twenty sirens were confirmed to work properly. The electronic equipment that relays the signal to the sirens was initially damaged during the storm on Sunday, May 28. While the electronic equipment continued to work during last week’s test and all sirens sounded on May 31, the damaged electronic equipment did not properly work today. The affected electronic equipment was ordered and repaired as quickly as possible. On Friday, June 9, technicians worked to make repairs to issues associated with the electronic equipment as well as the siren rotation. 

June 14, 2017 Test: 
All 20 of the City of Longview’s emergency warning sirens sounded and rotated during the June 14 test of the system. However, a timing issue was identified which will be addressed as soon as possible. During the test, the sirens sounded for five minutes as scheduled, but only rotated for three minutes. It is believed that this was due to a setting within the electronic equipment. These settings will be examined and adjustments will be made as soon as possible. 

June 21, 2017 Test:
The emergency warning siren system operated correctly with 19 of the 20 sirens sounding and rotating properly. Siren 16 located near the Spring Hill water tower did not sound or rotate due to a signal communication issue. Maintenance will be conducted to address the issue with that siren. Following repairs, an individual test of that siren may occur. The next system-wide test will occur on the regularly scheduled test on Wednesday, July 5.