One person suffered minor injuries and several homes were significantly damaged in Rockwall after severe storms with wind gusts to 95 mph tore through North Texas early Wednesday morning, officials confirm.[[417425743,R]]
About 15 homes in the area near Panhandle and Chuck Wagon drives were significantly damaged in the storm. Several others sustained broken windows and minor damage, according to Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt.
Pruitt said search and rescue teams were dispatched to the neighborhood surrounding Hays Elementary School after 4 a.m. Wednesday.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Witnesses said wind blew down the second-story wall of one of the homes. A man asleep on the second floor was thrown onto the front lawn, lacerating his liver.
The National Weather Service tweeted after noon Wednesday that a survey team in Rockwall has not yet found evidence of tornadic circulation, but did find evidence of straight-line winds that hit 95 mph. Winds of that speed are found in EF-1 tornadoes where moderate damage can be expected.
"Everybody's concerned about their neighbors and we're trying to reassure them everyone's OK," Pruitt said. "We take this stuff seriously. That's why you see so many people out here so fast."
Dylan Clements, 10, said it was two words from the movie 'Sharknado' that helped him escape disaster: "Duck and cover."
He says it was the only thing that that raced through his mind when winds of up to 100 miles per hour ripped through his Rockwall home.
With falling glass and crumbling bricks, Dylan said he knew he had to act fast. He said his mom was in shock, so he took over.
"Me and my mom would probably be crushed right now if I didn't stay calm, because she wouldn't have gone out of the house," he said.
Their home was one of nearly a dozen hit by a powerful band of straight-line winds overnight.
"It's crazy where it can get 10 houses and miss five," said neighbor Ron Valk.
Amazingly, there were no fatalities, but one man was severely injured when his bed came crashing through the floor onto the front lawn.
It was a terrifying wake-up call for everyone, who, if they were lucky like Dylan, had mere seconds to react.
"I have to get out of this house, I have to get my dog that ran away, and well I had to get out of there. I have no other choice but to leave everything I have," he said of escaping the home.
The American Red Cross says it has set up a small command center in the Dalton Ranch neighborhood. Two teams of Red Cross volunteers are on location and have started damage assessment as well as canteening for first responders and anyone requesting.
NBC 5's Courtney Gilmore and Ashleigh Barry contributed to this report.