Tracking the Van Zandt County tornado, storm destruction - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Tracking the Van Zandt County tornado, storm destruction

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

SAND FLATS, TX (KLTV) - A bird's eye view showed the surprising size of Wednesday night's twisters, but views from the ground provided perspective on the sheer power of the storms.

Daylight brought increased efforts in Van Zandt County to trace the path of the tornado or possible tornadoes.

"It's pretty devastating," said Bunting. "I believe this is the most devastating storm here in years."

Daylight brought new help to storm victims, and a new trail of destruction.

"The sky just started swirling and we got in the house and got in the closet and the next thing I know it was like a loud roar," said Cici Adams.

Adams rushed indoors just before a reported twister touched down outside Canton, rolling a portable building across the street. The damage noted, the trail continued to the Starr community where a meeting lodge once stood.

"Even though the tornado is moving potentially from my left to right some of the debris that we see is blowing directly into the path of the tornado," explained Bill Bunting, a field meteorologist.

Bunting covered each site, examining debris and tree damage to strengthen his case for the tornado.

"To get the paper up there into the upper levels of the tree, the winds were probably strong for 30-60 seconds," said Bunting.

He says that the twister was close to a football field wide, which showed no signs of slowing.

"It just shocked me," said Laura Wood. "It was bad. It actually shifted the house and totaled it."

Wood was one of many helping friends to pick up after the storm ripped right through the middle of their Sand Flats home. Some searched debris that was not limited to what was on the ground. Little is left of Ethel Dickerson's home, but friends say what is left says enough.

"She kept angels everywhere," said Wood. "On her dresser she had an angel sitting up on it. Everything in the room was destroyed but the angels."

It is an unexplained message in a time of loss. Van Zandt County authorities say crews are continuing to assist those in need.

No serious injuries from the storms have been reported, a statistic weather service members attribute to people paying attention to early warnings and understanding the unpredictability of Texas weather.

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