Gusty Winds Buffet Central Texas; Scattered Damage, Outages Reported

(February 25, 2013)—Winds gusting to speeds of 45 miles per hour or higher caused scattered damage Monday throughout Central Texas and snapped utility poles and tree limbs, leaving thousands without power.

A wind advisory was in effect until 4 a.m. Tuesday for all of Central Texas as a system pushed through the region.

In Temple, the high winds downed a tree, which landed on top of a parked minivan.

In Lorena, wind toppled a storage building.

The wind may have been a factor in an accident in which a dump truck ended up on its side Monday afternoon near the Temple landfill, but police have not yet determined the cause of the crash.

No other details were immediately available.

The wind tore a patio awning off at the Redeemed Christian Church of God at 3101 Florence Rd. in Killeen.

It ended up in front of the building where a member spotted it.

There were scattered reports of downed power lines throughout the area.

Late Monday afternoon, about 5,000 customers were without power in Bell County, most of them in the Killeen area.

About 100 outages were reported in the Waco area.

Oncor Outage Website

High winds at Killeen-Fort Hood Regional airport led to the cancellation of seven incoming American Eagle flights and five outgoing flights.

One American Eagle flight was delayed and a United flight from Houston was diverted to Austin.

A single flight was canceled at Waco Regional Airport because of high winds at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

The wind advisory in Central Texas remains in effect until 4 a.m. Tuesday and southwest winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour with higher gusts are expected through the afternoon and evening.

To the north, snow could mix with rain Monday afternoon along and northwest of a line from Eastland to Bridgeport, but no accumulations were expected.

Overnight snow could fall in areas north of a line from Eastland to Cleburne and accumulations of as much as 1 inch are possible along a line from Graham to Sherman, mostly on grassy areas and elevated surfaces.

But it could be worse.

Conditions were so bad Monday morning in parts of West Texas and the Panhandle that state troopers were unable to respond to calls for assistance and National Guard units were mobilizing.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for much of the region and predicts as much as 12 to 18 inches of snow in Amarillo, with the rest of the area between 6 to 14 inches.

Winds gusting at speeds as high as 65 miles per hour were creating whiteout conditions.

The Texas Department of Transportation closed Interstate 40 westbound to New Mexico, and portions of Interstate 27 between Amarillo and Lubbock and says all roads in the Panhandle are considered impassable.

Spokesman Paul Braun warned of snow drifts approaching a foot or higher on some roads. He asks residents to stay inside unless absolutely necessary.

Texas Tech and many other schools in the area canceled classes.

Gov. Rick Perry activated National Guard personnel to provide assistance as needed in the region.

As this blizzard makes its way through the panhandle and conditions warrant, we will continue to push state resources to the area to assist impacted communities,” Perry said.

“Visibility in many places is quickly deteriorating, and I urge all Texans in the storm’s path to remain vigilant and heed warnings from local officials,” he said.

The state is sending 23 National Guard troops and nine high-profile vehicles to stage in Amarillo, Pampa, Childress and Lubbock.

The Department of Public Safety Disaster District Committee in Amarillo was activated and committees in Lubbock and Wichita Falls were prepared to activate.

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