Strong Winds Rip Through East Texas

This morning's strong winds uprooted trees, knocked down power lines and tore roofs off several buildings. One East Texas county was hit the worst when winds almost tornado-like hit two different areas. The first happened around 4:00 a.m. in Canton. About two miles were damaged. Then around 5:30 a.m., winds tore a two-mile path just east of Ben Wheeler. At this time, officials are not sure if tornados created the damage or just straight line winds.

It was a very early morning for First Monday-goers in Canton. Strong winds tore through the fairgrounds knocking down several trees and power lines. "My truck looked like it was sitting in a birds nest," said First Monday vendor Terry Smithhart. "There were just limbs all the way around."

In the heart of Canton, streets were filled with tree limbs. Sign after sign was torn into pieces and Ace Hardware lost its lumber roof. "Most of all our outside stuff was scattered from here to next door, to the neighborhood behind us," said Ace Hardware Owner Marcelyn Norrell.

It was 16 miles Southeast of Canton, where the storm damage was the worst. "I was laying in bed and I heard like a really loud sound," said Christian Adams whose house was hit by storm. "It sounded like a train coming."

Adams woke up around 5:30 a.m. to find her yard filled with trees. "It's like I'm in a tree house," said Adams. "It was everywhere that was all I could see was a bunch of trees and I couldn't get out my front door."

Windows broke, the garage wall came tumbling down, and the house shifted six inches, but a tree never hit Adams' house. "I don't even know how that happened," said Adams. "I was looking around, and I was like, there is no tree in my house."

Charles Standford's house was not so lucky. Winds tore his roof off, and carried a 600 lb. Brush Hog from his barn to the driveway. "The force of the wind threw a limb through the gabble on my house," said Standford. "It thew a limb through the windshield of my truck. The force of mother nature is just unbelievable."

Even more unbelievable, no one in the county was injured during the storms. The National Weather Service out of Fort Worth says it will be sending a Damage Survey Team to Van Zandt County. They will decide if tornados did create the damage there. The American Red Cross is serving meals at First Baptist Church of Canton, located on College Street. County officials say First Monday is still open and safe to attend.

Molly Reuter reporting,