Mt. Vernon Register-News

May 16, 2013

Tornadoes tear through East Texas; 6 people killed


CNHI News Service

— A pack of tornadoes killed at least six people and injured dozens more in East Texas Wednesday night.

The city of Granbury, southwest of Fort Worth, was the hardest hit area. Officials reported a half-dozen deaths, multiple injuries and many houses destroyed. Late last night, rescuers were picking through debris and searching for people trapped in rubble.

Hail pounded the city before the tornado arrived, about 8 p.m. The storm flattened buildings, peeled off roofs and siding, plucked trees from the ground and scattered debris everywhere.

Another tornado, reportedly a mile wide, tore through the southwestern portion of the city of Cleburne, which is south of Fort Worth. That tornado damaged dozens of homes, though no major injuries were reported, said Mayor Scott Cain.

City officials opened a shelter in a conference center. Cain also declared a local disaster.

In Mineral Wells, about 50 miles west of Fort Worth, a super-cell thunderstorm gathered energy and pounded the city with grapefruit-sized hail that damaged cars, homes and businesses.

That storm marched east and later spawned a tornado near the small community of Millsap, where about a half-dozen homes were damaged, said Parker County Judge Mark Riley.

A house behind a local landmark, the white bull, was heavily damaged. It was unclear if the house had been hit by a tornado or high winds.

Its residents were not believed to be home at the time.

Riley reported a long gash of weather damage across Parker County, but there were no reported injuries Wednesday night.

Another tornado was reported about 15 miles east of Millsap, south of Weatherford.

That storm was likely the one that brushed the Sanders' home on Tin Top Road.

Karen and Chad Sanders were home watching television when they saw news of the weather and went outside to look.

“It sure was still,” she said.

They couldn't see anything but heard a noise and went back inside with their two dogs. They then listened to wind knocking things against the door. Their ears popped.

Afterward they discovered the outbuilding several from the house was missing a wall and its metal roof. Part of the roof was wrapped around a large tree in the driveway. The other part was gone.

A large tree was uprooted and toppled across the family’s barn, collapsing it and damaging a car and the water well. A fence and pool were also damaged. Another tree was knocked down, as well.

Several wrecks were reported during the storms, and there were numerous reports of downed power lines. Utilities reported as many as 20,000 homes and businesses without power Thursday morning.

-- Details for this story were provided by the Weatherford Democrat and the Cleburne Times-Review. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.