Texas Tornado Winds Believed To Be Up to 200 mph

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UPDATE 8:30 p.m.

Utility officials say nearly 3,500 homes and businesses remained without power 24 hours after a North Texas tornado outbreak left at least six people dead.

Dallas-based Oncor on Thursday had almost 3,100 customers without power as crews worked to restore service.

United Cooperative Services reported 400 outages remained Thursday. United Cooperative Services says more than 100 utility poles were toppled by the severe weather.


UPDATE 8:00 p.m.

Emergency officials say the deadly Granbury tornado not only killed at least six people but destroyed 19 buildings and 17 mobile homes as well.

A statement issued by the Hood County Sheriff's office says the Wednesday night tornado also caused major damage to 17 other buildings. More damage reports were expected, though.

The devastated Rancho Brazos Estates and DeCordova Ranch neighborhoods of Granbury remain sealed off.

The Red Cross has opened shelters at two churches in Granbury.

A specialty search-and-rescue team known as Texas Task Force 2 deployed Thursday from Dallas to assist in Granbury.

Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans says 30 members have been dispatched. The emergency responders also use dogs in their search efforts.


UPDATE 7:15 p.m.

Residents of a North Texas community where six people died in a tornado are describing a trail of destruction that's left some neighborhoods unrecognizable.

Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry said Thursday he couldn't tell one street from another in an area of Granbury where homes were ripped from foundations and others turned to rubble.

In the Rancho Brazos subdivision, debris is hanging from utility lines as dozens of law enforcement officers patrol the area to restrict access and guard the scene.

Half of one home was torn away while the other half remains standing, with glasses and vases remaining intact on shelves.

Berry says the overnight tornado caused "total devastation" in the neighborhood. The area is about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.


UPDATE 7:00 p.m.

The National Weather Service has rated a tornado that devastated a neighborhood in the North Texas town of Cleburne as an EF-3.

The assessment by a Weather Service storm survey team means the twister that hit Cleburne on Wednesday night packed gusts of 135 to 165 mph. According to the National Weather Service website, that's sufficient to collapse the walls of a strong frame house and rip the roof from a brick structure.

Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain declared a local disaster, and schools canceled classes because of damage.

Cain says no deaths or serious injuries were reported in Cleburne. Thousands lost electricity in the city of 30,000 situated about 25 miles south of Fort Worth.

Cleburne is 25 miles southeast of Granbury, where a tornado killed at least six people.


UPDATE 11:25 a.m.

Forecasters say the tornado that claimed six lives and destroyed dozens of homes in North Texas is believed to have had winds up to 200 mph.

The National Weather Service said the preliminary storm estimate for Wednesday night's tornado in Granbury was an EF-4, based on the Fujita tornado damage scale. That means the storm carried wind speeds of 166 mph to 200 mph.

The NWS believes 10 tornadoes raked North Texas in a violent system, including the one in Granbury, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Other tornadoes damaged nearby Cleburne and Millsap.

Forecast Jesse Moore says NWS teams traveled to the affected cities Thursday to survey the damage and speak with emergency management officials.

He says more than one tornado might have touched down in various areas.


UPDATE 9:37 a.m.

A leader of a North Texas county where six people died in a tornado has described a storm-damaged neighborhood as "total devastation."

Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry before dawn Thursday surveyed the damage in Granbury, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Berry, who was a firefighter for more than 20 years, says the Ranch Brazos neighborhood has about 100 mobile homes and wood structures. He says a lot of the mobile homes were "wadded up" and rolled during Wednesday night's twister.

Berry says all of the homes have significant damage and as many as half were destroyed. He says a lot of homes were built by volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.

Berry says houses can be rebuilt over time but the loss of a life is devastating to families.


UPDATE: 8:52 a.m.

GRANBURY, Texas (AP) - A North Texas county sheriff says seven people remain unaccounted for after a massive tornado claimed six lives.

Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds on Thursday said emergency responders are searching parts of Granbury left devastated. Deeds says authorities are working to identify the six adults who died in Wednesday night's twister in Granbury, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Deeds earlier said 14 people were missing but half were later found with family or friends. Deeds says he hopes that will be the case for the other seven missing people.

He says 37 people were treated at a Granbury hospital and of those, 15 were transported to Fort Worth-area hospitals and 19 were treated and released. The sheriff says three people remain Thursday at Lake Granbury Medical Center.


UPDATE: 7:30 a.m.

GRANBURY, Texas (AP) - A leader of a North Texas city devastated by a tornado that left six people dead thinks most missing residents have been located.

Granbury Mayor Pro Tem Nin Hulett said Thursday that the highest priority is to get people into shelters.

Hulett appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" just hours after Wednesday night's twister hit the community about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

The Red Cross has opened shelters at two churches in Granbury, where emergency responders initially reported 14 people were unaccounted for.

A specialty search-and-rescue team known as Texas Task Force 2 deployed Thursday from Dallas to assist in Granbury.

Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans says 30 members have been dispatched. The emergency responders also use dogs in their search efforts.


UPDATE: 12:20 a.m.

GRANBURY, Texas - Officials say at least six people were killed when a spring tornado outbreak devastated parts of North Texas, destroying or damaging dozens of homes and injuring dozens of people.

The worst-hit city Wednesday was Granbury, where authorities say the fatalities occurred as the deadly tornado tore through two neighborhoods. Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds delivered the death toll at a midnight news conference and said dozens were injured.

The same storm spawned another tornado that storm spotters told the National Weather Service was a mile wide. That twister tore through part of Cleburne, about 25 miles southeast of Granbury.


UPDATE: Wed. 10:55pm

GRANBURY, Texas - Officials report a tornado caused "multiple fatalities" as it tore through two neighborhoods of a North Texas town.

The tornado hit the scenic Brazos River courthouse town of Granbury about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Hood County sheriff's Lt. Kathy Jiveden reported the multiple fatalities, but she had no estimate of dead or injured.

She said crews "are going house to house" looking for those trapped, injured or dead in the rubble of demolished homes in the DeCordova Ranch and Rancho Brazos Estates neighborhoods. Those areas are in the southern part of the town of about 8,000 residents near Lake Granbury.

According to CBS Station KTVT, Hood County EMS confirms two people were killed and another 16 injured by the storm. However those numbers could grow as a spokesperson for MedStar, which was asked to send ambulances and first responders to the area said more than 100 people may have been injured by the storm.

The town’s major pro-tem said as many as 50 homes were heavily damaged.

Photo: WFAA