Severe Storms Wallop Texas With Twisters

Meteorologists determined Thursday that a severe storm that destroyed homes and knocked down trees in suburban Fort Worth a day earlier was a tornado packing winds of up to 115 mph.

The tornado hit Crowley Wednesday night, leaving a path of damage and debris that was about 0.3 miles long and 100 yards wide, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm system that created the tornado also produced strong winds that caused damage in Hood, Johnson and Tarrant counties, officials said.

Aerial video of the Crowley area 12 miles south of Fort Worth showed the roofs of homes stripped of shingles and decking and cars buried beneath the debris of what had once been garages.

"All in all, just your regular Texas spring thunderstorm with possible tornadoes and golfball-size hail," said Tarrant County spokesman Mark Flake.

Mike Keith owns a home in that area, just west of Crowley. "It was just a tremendous roar and tremendous winds," he told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT, adding that his yard was littered with debris.

Other than some scrapes and scratches, no injuries were reported from the storms that brought heavy rain, winds up to 70 mph and baseball-size hail in some counties.

On Wednesday afternoon, roofs were damaged by winds in a Snyder park in Scurry County. A short time later as many as two twisters reportedly touched down away from populated areas near Patricia in Dawson County, southwest of Lubbock.

"We feel fairly confident on the Patricia one because there was a ... spotter out of Lubbock that was on that storm," said David Hennig, a NWS meteorologist in Midland.

Jones County Judge Dale Spurgin said a storm that moved through the northern portion of the county damaged roofs in Anson and knocked down power lines. One highway was closed by the downed poles. Spurgin said there was also some minor flooding on some farm-to-market roads.

Hail — some golf-ball size — was reported nearby, the weather service said.

As the storm moved east, at least one tornado was reported in Erath County near Morgan Mill, and the same one appears to have touched down nearby in Palo Pinto County, said Nick Hampshire, a meteorologist with the NWS in Fort Worth. Several power lines and trees were knocked down and outbuildings were destroyed along the Erath-Palo Pinto line, and some roofs near Lipan in Hood County were reportedly damaged as well.

Hood County emergency management official Roger Deeds said some homes and a fire station were damaged as the storm moved through the region southwest of Fort Worth.

The thunderstorm also brought winds up to 70 mph and quarter-size to baseball-size hail to Stephens, Eastland, Erath, Palo Pinto, Hood and Parker counties, according to NWS reports. Flash flooding also was reported in Palo Pinto County.

In Stephenville, several cars were stuck in high water, but there were no injuries, said police patrolman Marty Golightly. He said there were reports of water as high as 3 feet.

The chance of severe weather returns to the forecast for Friday.

A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms was forecast in Southeast Texas with highs in the mid-80s and winds from the southeast at 10 to 15 mph. Some thunderstorms may produce heavy rainfall. A 40 percent chance of showers was expected in the region Friday night with lows in the mid-60s.

In North Texas, skies should be partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs should be in the upper 70s. Winds should be from the south at 15 to 20 mph, becoming west 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon, with gusts up to 30 mph. Skies should be mostly cloudy in the region Friday night with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, turning mostly clear after midnight. Lows should be in the upper 50s with northeast winds at 10 to 15 mph.

Conditions should be sunny in West Texas with highs in the lower 80s and winds from the north at 10 to 15 mph, shifting to the northeast in the afternoon. Conditions should continue to be mostly clear in the region Friday night with lows in the upper 40s and southeast winds around 10 mph.