Winona residents feeling after-effects of storm, tornado
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - East Texans are experiencing heavy rains, power outages and even a confirmed tornado Monday morning.
Video taken by Garland Harroff shows the confirmed tornado as it moved into the Winona area.
Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks confirmed there are reports of a tornado that touched the ground in Winona. The Winona ISD Police Chief saw the tornado briefly touch down, and the school was briefly placed on lockdown but is back up at its regular schedule, Brooks said at 10:50 a.m. He had reports of four houses being damaged, as well as power lines and minor damage to the high school. The National Weather Service – Shreveport said it had moved out of the area.
Smith County Precinct 4 Constable Josh Joplin said the tornado took down the fence perimeter of the city water tower, completely destroyed a modular building, and threw football equipment from the football field into a nearby pasture. A portable building was lying in the middle of Johnson Road.
He said the tornado appeared to have spun up on Johnson Road. “I’ve got a building that’s destroyed on 16th. The path actually went behind the school, traveled over the water tower area of Winona, and then came through the neighborhood of Hussey Circle and continued to travel north.” He said there appeared to be quite a bit of damage in the Hussey Circle neighborhood.
“We’re now getting feedback that County Road 356 and River Road, Pinehurst Ranch area, the pecan orchard — they’ve sustained some damage. Don’t know of any houses at this time, but it’s definitely a path going north from where it touched down going through Smith County. We don’t have anybody that’s injured that we’re aware of, and that’s definitely a good thing,” Constable Joplin explained.
“This probably is the only one I’ve seen that’s done this amount of damage in a short amount of time,” Constable Joplin said.
Fire Marshal Brooks said, “It just goes to show Texas weather can shift on us. We’re so thankful that we have no reported injuries so far. First responders did a great job....We’ve got the American Red Cross inbound as well.”
“We would ask the public, if you don’t live here, avoid this area, please. Give these responders the room that they need to take care of the situation. It is still ongoing. If you do live here, come in, but be careful: there are power lines down.”
Winona resident Shelley Brumley sent video of damage to her house on Hussey Circle in Winona. Brumley said she owns about 20 birds and all are OK.
Blake Holland has reported from Winona that no injuries have been noted, although quite a bit of damage exists. One manufactured building was moved five to ten feet, a home was damaged, and several trees were knocked over. However, he says Winona’s community spirit shows as neighbors turn out to support each other.
Many fallen limbs and trees have caused damage as well, as shown here:
Longview residents are experiencing power outages as well.
First Alert Weather Days are in effect for today and tomorrow (Monday & Tuesday) as widespread heavy rains will likely lead to localized flash flooding in East Texas.
A Flood Watch has been issued until 7 PM Tuesday evening for central and eastern portions of East Texas as widespread rain totals are expected to range from 2.00″-5.00″, with localized areas potentially seeing even higher totals.
Showers and storms will remain likely at times over the next 48 hours as an upper-level system slowly travels east, tapping into the very humid airmass that is currently in East Texas. Rain will be possible for our Wednesday as well, although coverage will not be as widespread, especially across our westernmost counties. East Texans are urged to use extra caution while out driving, and to never attempt to drive through a flooded roadway.
Remember to keep your low beams on when driving through heavy rainfall and to give plenty of space between you and the car ahead.
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