WACO (April 26, 2011)—Emergency sirens sounded Tuesday night in the Waco area as a powerful hail-producing storm moved west into the metro area.
The storm showed significant rotation and posed a tornado threat in the center of the city.
A second storm that developed in the Lacy Lakeview area and passed over Texas State Technical College also showed rotation and a potential tornado.
The storms produced high winds, and in places large hail.
Tornado warnings were in effect at one point Tuesday night for all of McLennan County because of the storm, but by around 9:30 p.m., the warning area had been scaled back to areas south of Waco and at 9:45 the counties warnings expired.
Tornado warnings were also in effect, however, for Falls, Limestone, Freestone, Robertson and Leon Counties.
At 8:55 p.m., a trained spotter reported a small rope tornado just north of Mart near the McLennan-Limestone County line.
A new tornado watch was issued late Monday night effective until 5 a.m. Wednesday that includes Bell, Falls, Freestone, Limestone, Leon, Milam and Robertson Counties, as the storm activity shifted southward. That Watch was ended early as the storms moved out of Central Texas.
Earlier Tuesday evening a large thunderstorm that prompted a tornado warning for eastern McLennan County produced at least one tornado in Limestone County.
In Groesbeck, what a trained spotter said was a tornado blew off part of the roof of a building at Highway 164 and Highway 14.
Residents reported some damage to the Limestone County Courthouse and a Dairy Queen restaurant in downtown Groesbeck, as well as to other buildings.
A trained storm spotter reported damage to the Groesbeck Fire Department, power poles down and some roof damage.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said it was concentrating manpower in Limestone County and said several hundred people were at the courthouse in search of shelter.
Limestone County Sheriff Dennis Wilson confirmed just before 10:30 p.m. that 250 to 300 residents were in the courthouse and planned to stay there until the storm threat ended.
“We’ve been hit once,” he said, “and we’re just telling everyone to hunker down here.”
Power was out throughout the community.
A trained spotter also reported a tornado on the ground just before 7:55 p.m. Tuesday two miles northwest of Lost Prairie east of Groesbeck in Limestone County.
Baseball size hail was reported in Lacy Lakeview north of Waco.
One-inch hail was reported in Mart.
Power lines were down in eastern McLennan County and western Limestone County.
There was an unconfirmed report that a roof was blown off a barn between Riesel and Mart.
A possible tornado roared through a rural East Texas area Tuesday, causing what one emergency management official called "major destruction."
Van Zandt County emergency management spokesman Chuck Allen estimated that "easily 100-plus" homes were destroyed or damaged north of the tiny East Texas town of Edom.
He said one injury was reported.
Allen described a damage track one mile wide and eight miles long extending from Edom to the north.
The storm passed through the area about 75 miles east of Dallas about 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Edom Fire Chief Eddie Wood said the injured woman suffered fractures when her mobile home was destroyed in Edom, a town of about 300 residents.
Widespread roof damage was reported after a series of tornadoes struck the small East Texas town of Mabank.
Police Chief Kyle McAfee said there was widespread tree damage and damage to shingles and other roof features from twisters Tuesday afternoon in the town of about 3,400 residents about 50 miles southeast of Dallas.
No injuries were reported, though.
Shoppers at the Brookshire's supermarket in Mabank sought shelter in a walk-in freezer until the danger passed.