On May 27, 1997, several tornadoes hit the Central Texas area in the counties of McLennan, Bell, Williamson, and Travis. The most destructive of these tornadoes swept through a housing area on the outskirts of Jarrell, Texas. Jarrell is a Central Texas town with a population of 410 located approximately 60 km north of Austin, Texas. The Jarrell tornado destroyed about 40 single-family residences and other structures, killing 27 people.
A post-storm damage survey was made at Jarrell by a team coordinated by the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research (OFCM). Included on the OFCM team was Long Phan, NIST structural engineer. The team conducted ground surveys and two aerial surveys of the areas affected by all tornadoes that hit the central Texas region on May 27, 1997. The purpose of the survey was to document the tornado ground tracks, inlcding beginning and end points, path lenghts, maximum widths, and the associated structrual damage.Details of the damage survey are contained in the report, Fujita Tornado Intensity Scale: A Critique Based on Observations of the Jarrell Tornado of May 27, 1997, Phan, L. T.; Simiu, E., NIST TN 1426; 23 p. July 1998.