The National Weather Service says an EF-3 tornado with maximum winds of 165 mph touched down in Bell County near Salado Tuesday evening, 150 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth.
According to NWS survey teams, the tornado began in nearby Williamson County before tracking nearly 13 miles through Bell County for about a half-hour. More information on the tornado is expected to be released Wednesday evening.
DOZENS INJURED IN SALADO TORNADO
Nearly two dozen people were injured when tornadoes swept through Central Texas Tuesday night as part of a storm system that was expected to spawn more twisters and damaging winds Wednesday.
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Bell County Judge David Blackburn said 23 people were injured, one of them critically. Twelve of the injured were taken to hospitals, Blackburn said.
“There’s not much left,” Blackburn said at a news conference Tuesday night. “Large trees are uprooted and overturned and stripped. Buildings really reduced to rubble. … Power lines, power poles, are scattered all over the place. It’s pretty devastating.”
Your Hail Photos – April 12 & 13, 2022
Photos on social media showed grapefruit-size hail associated with that storm.
CLEANUP BEGINS IN SALADO AFTER EF-3 TORNADO
First responders spent Wednesday searching destroyed home and clearing debris along an 8-mile path of the EF-3 tornado near Salado.
Larry McDonald sheltered in his bathroom.
"I came in here, and I was standing about right here and then the roof left from in there, so I pulled this pocket door closed," McDonald said.
When he emerged, the whole back corner of his home was gone.
"I've called the insurance adjusters," McDonald said as he stood in what used to be his master bedroom. "So I kind of don't know what to do until they show up."
McDonald walked away without a scratch, his neighbor John Wilson wasn't as lucky.
"The house collapsed on top of me," Wilson said. "I got the stuff off of me. Of course, it got the best of me."
With 16 stitches to his face, Wilson was one of about two dozen people injured by the tornado.
His family is helping him do what they can to salvage what's left.
"Ain't never done this before. Don't have a clue. Just going to try to figure out what we're going to do," said Wilson.
The First Cedar Valley Baptist Church was destroyed, and nearly all of its walls have been reduced to a pile of bricks.
The pastor and his wife got the news Wednesday that the church's piano and pulpit survived the storm. They're now preparing to hold Sunday services in the parking lot.
Another sign of the resiliency of the people of Bell County who have a long road ahead.
"Oh, well, it's just stuff. I can rebuild," said McDonald.
TEXAS STORM SYSTEM MOVES EAST
Tornadoes were also spotted Tuesday in Iowa, but there were no reports of serious injuries. In Lincoln, Nebraska, powerful wind gusts knocked down tree limbs and caused some roof damage.
More tornadoes were in the forecast Wednesday for parts of the mid-South and in the Mississippi River Valley, the Storm Prediction Center said.
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Hurricane-force winds, intense tornadoes, and large hail were possible in Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana, Louisiana, and Alabama, forecasters said. Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee, were among the cities that could see the worst weather Wednesday, the Storm Prediction Center said.
Elsewhere, the North Dakota Capitol, schools, government offices, and interstates remained closed Wednesday as a blizzard continued to bear down on the state.
A blizzard warning issued by the National Weather Service remained in effect through Thursday for most of western and central North Dakota where up to 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow was expected.
CONTINUING WEATHER COVERAGE
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