Weather service confirms tornado touched down in Central Texas

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(KWTX) The National Weather Service Thursday confirmed that a small tornado touched down Wednesday near the small Elliott community in Robertson near Franklin as powerful storms swept through Central Texas.

Judy Daniels rode out the storm in a closet with her two Chihuahuas. (Photo by John Carroll)

"We have not been able to fully complete our damage survey and path yet, but we can confirm there was a weak tornado in the Elliott area," Jason Godwin told KBTX in Bryan.

"Much of the damage was caused by straight-line winds, but there is evidence of an embedded tornado", said Godwin.

The EF0 tornado with maximum winds of 85 miles per hour was on the ground for about a minute and covered about a quarter of a mile damaging a barn and trees.

Additional damage in the area was the result of straightline winds, the National Weather Service said.

At least one other tornado was reported Wednesday afternoon in Brazos County near Easterwood Airport.

The Robertson County Sheriff's Office said earlier that the tornado was spotted Wednesday afternoon on the ground in Elliott, just west of Franklin. as a storm with high winds in which radar detected two areas of rotation headed toward Hearne, Calvert and Franklin, which was struck by an F3 twister on April 13.

“It sounded like a train coming through,” said Judy Daniels, who lives just outside of Elliott.

Daniels, who took shelter inside a closet with her two Chihuahuas until the storm passed, said she heard things hitting the porch of her home, the sound of glass breaking, a roaring noise, and then rain gushing in.

“I was afraid to look, but when I did venture out, I had water all over my house and the roof was gone,” she said.

This was Daniels' second brush with a tornado in less than a month.

She was inside the Franklin Food Pantry on April 13 when the tornado with winds of 140 miles per hour slammed into the southern part of the town.

The Robertson County Sheriff’s Office reported high winds and heavy rain in the Calvert area and high wind and debris in the air at Red Hill and State Highway 6.

Franklin ISD students sheltered in place, the district said in a Facebook post.

By 2 p.m., the most dangerous part of the storm had pushed to the east of Franklin toward the Leon County line.

The Robertson County Sheriff's Office, however, said it received multiple reports of debris on roads.

A tree was blocking both lanes of traffic on FM 2549 West at Henry Prairie Road, a power line was down at Cottonwood and Texas Street in Calvert and there were numerous reports of water over roadways, the sheriff's office said.

High water was reported on FM 2549 one mile north of FM 391, a tree was down across Shiloh Church Road near FM 2446,

Meanwhile, at around 2 p.m. Wednesday, a KBTX-TV storm tracker spotted a possible tornado on the ground near Easterwood Airport as a storm moved from the Snook community across the Brazos River and into College Station and southern Brazos County.

School officials in both Bryan and College station told students and staff to shelter in place until the threat passed.

Texas A&M University students and staff did, as well.

A tornado was also reported along FM 60 closer to the Brazos River, but it may have been the same one spotted near the airport.

No significant damage or injuries were reported.

A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect until 8 p.m. that included Freestone, Leon, Milam and Robertson counties in Central Texas.

Several thousand customers were without power late Wednesday morning in Central Texas because of the storms.

Because of the weather threat, Killeen ISD Superintendent John Craft directed Wednesday morning that students be kept inside buildings, including during passing periods until the storms passed through.

The outage affected several Killeen ISD schools including Nolanville Elementary School, Cavazos Elementary School and Union Grove Middle School.

The power was going on and off at Harker Heights High School, the district said.

The school outages have since been resolved, but because of the weather the KISD canceled all of Wednesday night's middle school soccer games, all after-school activities at Montague Elementary School, after-school tutoring at Peebles Elementary School and all club activities at Brookhaven Elementary School.

A flood advisory was in effect until 2:45 p.m. in poor drainage areas of Navarro County.

Storms that developed earlier Wednesday caused some street flooding in Waco and knocked out traffic signals at several intersections.

Street flooding was also reported in Killeen.

Hewitt police reported flooding on Earle Road, Panther Way and Eva Drive.

Meanwhile in the Houston area, dozens of students had to spend the night at school after flooded roads prevented buses from leaving and parents from reaching their children.

Most of the approximately 1,500 students at an elementary school in Cleveland, northeast of Houston, were able to leave by the end of the day after being stranded for a time Tuesday as up to 10 inches of rain swamped the region.

However, the school district says about 60 students stayed overnight.

The downpour brought flooding to schools and homes as emergency personnel worked into the night to evacuate people.

Gov. Greg Abbott Tuesday placed emergency resources including rescue teams, helicopter crews, high profile vehicles and medical support teams on standby as another round of severe weather threatens Central Texas and other areas of the state.

“As Texas prepares for another round of severe weather, including the potential for tornadoes and dangerous flooding, multiple state resources have been prepositioned for rapid deployment should local officials need assistance with search and rescue operations,” Abbott said.

“We are asking Texans to stay alert during this dangerous storm system and heed all warnings from local officials.”

Showers and thunderstorms are possible beginning in the overnight hours and likely Wednesday in Central Texas.

Some thunderstorms could be severe Wednesday and locally heavy rainfall is possible, which could cause flooding in areas already saturated by the last round of showers.

Rain chances continue into next week.

Heavy rain last week in Central Texas caused widespread street flooding and led to a series of high water rescues as motorists found themselves stranded in the rising water.

Abbott deployed the Texas Task Force 2 urban search and rescue team to Wichita Falls to stand by in the event of severe weather in the Panhandle, which faces the greatest risk Tuesday night.

He also placed 19 rescue boats and crews, two helicopters with hoists, 30 high profile vehicles, eight ambulance buses, an ambulance strike team, a mobile medical unit and eight medical incident support teams on standby.