The National Weather Service confirms an EF-1 tornado struck Stephenville at around dawn Tuesday, with winds between 86 and 110 miles per hour, damaging dozens of buildings.
The storm damaged some structures at Tarleton State University, including the school's football field press box and scoreboard, as well as a couple of buildings under construction on campus.
Down Washington Street, southwest of campus, damage was visible at the Saint-Gobain Abrasives manufacturing facility.
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And the roof peeled off the Lillian One Apartments. As it happened, the door blew open at Jerry Garcia's apartment across the street.
"Very frightening," he said. "Something you definitely don't want to go through again."
Delia Castro does cleaning work at the complex and arrived to see the roof missing at the laundry room.
"The people who were here, they were pretty shaken and scared, because they didn't expect this. Nobody would," she said.
No one was injured in Stephenville.
Castro said fewer people were at the complex Tuesday because it is spring break at Tarleton.
"Can you imagine if everybody would have been here? Oh, my gosh, no. This is something terrible," she said.
Straight-line winds were also suspected of causing much of the damage to dozens of buildings in Stephenville.
On the town square, workers made repairs to windows blown out of the historic Erath County Courthouse.
"Everything we do has to be approved by the Texas Historical Commission, so the windows are going to be an issue," Erath County Commissioner Joe Brown said. "At this point we're just boarding them back up trying to keep the weather out."
There was heavy damage to buildings at the Fosters' Home for Children on the north side of Stephenville.
There, too, spring break was credited for lessening the chance of injuries.
Board member Carl Smith said 50 children and dozens of staff members would normally have been at the facility on a typical Tuesday.
"Fortunately, thank God, that we are on spring break at this time and many of the kids are visiting their families or on trips. There were very few people on campus at this time," Smith said.
A large section of debris that landed in front of the Fosters' Home was the porch roof and support posts from Debbie Ray's house across the street.
Ray was at home when it happened.
"Things are hitting the window, smashing the window. So, I slide off the bed with the dog underneath me and next thing I heard was this 'swish.' It was the roof," Ray said.
Commissioner Brown said storm recovery was quickly underway Tuesday morning.
"The plus is that there's no loss of life," Brown said. "And we're blessed that we've got enough folks to get it cleaned up and get us back to business."
Late Tuesday, power was still out in many Stephenville locations but power crews were hard at work.