‘Got hit real hard’: Storms flip RVs in Ore City, other damage reported around East Texas

Viewer video from Craig Cooper
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 11:32 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2022 at 7:47 AM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV/KTRE) - A fierce storm system blew through East Texas Monday night. Strong winds and lightning came with it.

In Cass County, a large number of trees are down and some county roads are blocked by trees and debris in the roadway, but all main roads are clear as of now. Officials said no reports yet of a possible tornado but it’s too early to tell they are still out in the community looking and assessing the damage according to a Cass County official.

In Mount Enterprise the emergency manager reports a flash flood at 6:20 a.m. US Highway 84 between County Road 3226 and County Road 3227 will be closed for an extended time due to an electric transmission line across the roadway. Several county roads are reported to have flash flooding and trees down.

In Alto, officials report a flash flood at 6:53 a.m. According to Cherokee county officials, there is water over FM 343 in Atoy and FM 1911 south of Alto.

In Waskom law enforcement reports a large amount of tree damage, twisted, on FM 31, one mile off Woodley Road, trees down caused an 18-wheeler to wreck. Officials said more tree damage at Woodley Road and Floyd Evans Road north of Farm-to-Market Road 31 the road is closed. Tornado possible, said officials. Law enforcement officials report flash flood at 5 a.m. Flooding reported at Strickland Springs Road, Candyman Road, Farm-to-Market Road 9 and areas in and around Elysian Fields.

In Ore City, Fire Chief Gaston DeBerry said there was a lot of damage in the area.

Damage reported on Highway 271 to northeast, north of Ore City. One home with the roof partially missing, structural damage. Officials said multiple homes were damaged or destroyed in the area. There were several reports of injuries but the number is unknown at this time. The damage areas include; FM 2685, Evergreen Rd.; Highway 271, Bluebird Rd, Hwy 300, Hwy 154.

“We got hit real hard,” DeBerry said.

Storms hit an RV park and flipped campers. DeBerry said one camper flew about 100 yards into Lake O’ the Pines with people inside. But the people were rescued. DeBerry said there were no major injuries at the RV park.

DeBerry said many houses are damaged with trees in them and there are trees across the roads. Power lines are also down.

“We’re still assessing but so far there have been no major injuries,” DeBerry said.

The Upshur County Sheriff’s Office said the county did suffer significant damage from the storm that passed through and several people were injured, but no deaths have been reported in the county as of this time. They said many homes and structures were damaged and as of 3 a.m., several roads are still being cleared of trees and power lines. Significant areas also remain without power.

The sheriff’s office said initial indications are that tornadic winds sustained a path from southwest Upshur County, west of Highway 271 to northeast, north of Ore City.

The sheriff’s office said specific areas of damage include the areas from FM 2685 and Evergreen Road to Hwy 271 south of Bluebird Road, across Hwy 300 to Hwy 154 south of Gilmer. A track continued to north of Ore City where the area of Upshur Landing at Lake of the Pines took significant damage.

The Texas Department of Transportation’s Lufkin office tweeted that there is a structure in the road on US Highway 287 in Houston County. TxDOT is also reporting that trees are down on State Highway 21 West and FM 1280. TxDOT also reported trees down on FM 204 near Cushing in Nacogdoches County.

“Crews are staged and will begin clearing roadways when it is safe to do so,” the tweet stated. “Driving is discouraged.”

From viewer Benny Swan

In Rusk County, the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management said first responders are responding to multiple reports of damage around the Mount Enterprise area. They said they received reports of multiple homes, including a manufactured home, sustaining significant damage. They said most of the damage appeared to be west of US 259 and northwest of the city of Mount Enterprise. They said there were also reports of a large tree down blocking part of US 259.

They said early reports indicate that at least one person may have been trapped in a RV following the storms as well, but no serious injuries have been reported. Mount Enterprise fire and rescue units responded to the scene along with other agencies who assisted. Additionally, Rusk County OEM said a fire was reported at a gas well in the Tatum area which may have been started by a lightning strike. Tatum fire crews responded to that scene.

The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office said there was significant damage from Laneville, through Minden, and the Brachfield areas. They said several homes in the area were damaged or destroyed. They said a command post is being set up at the Mount Enterprise VFD to start the cleanup.

Near Crockett, Chief Hans Meinardus with Houston County Lake VFD confirmed tree and powerline damage about a quarter mile from Loop 304 and FM 229. According to Heath Murff, Houston County Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator, damage was reported from Austonio to the north side of Crockett. Murff confirmed a Valero gas station at the intersection of Hwy 19/287 and Norman Lane was destroyed. Nine homes behind the gas station were also damaged to destroyed. A home on CR 1515 was also leveled. Murff said at least five people in the county were taken to area hospitals following the storm.

The Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office said that there are reports of some houses damaged as well as trees, power lines, and debris in the road on Highway 204, CR 874, FM 343, Highway 3, and several other county roads. They said multiple agencies are working to clear the roads and check on area residences.

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