Severe Weather Blog: Tornadoes hit Alvarado, Rio Vista



Posted on April 11, 2011 at 1:51 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 11 at 8:03 PM

1:24p  The National Weather Service now confirms two tornados touched down in Johnson County today. The worst damage hit the rural community of Rio Vista, where at least a half dozen homeowners' yards were littered with debris. Joe Fonseca said the winds were so strong they shook his home and moved the foundation six inches. Also in his yard, the winds lifted two separate storage sheds and sent them airborne before they splintered into small pieces.

Fonseca and his family are okay. They huddled in the center of their home when the straight line winds blew through just before 2 a.m.

The National Weather Service says the tornado was at least a high-end EF-1 tornado with winds ranging between 100 and 110 miles an hour. The survey team says the first tornado hit in nearby Alvarado. It tore part of the roof and an entire wall right off the Medicine Chest Pharmacy. The drive-through is also gone, leaving in its wake extensive debris. Employees there are trying to arrange for an alternative site so customers can continue to pick up their prescriptions.

Johnson County officials say, despite all the damage to their county, they have no reports of anyone injured. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

12:40p Oncor reported the strong wind caused 93,000 customers across North Texas to lose power overnight. Now, that number is down to less than 70,000. - WFAA

12:34p Severe damage was also seen to homes in Hunt County. Crews were working to restore power throughout the area. Large trees could be seen pulled from their roots. The top of one home just south of Greenville Club Lake off FM 1564 was completely torn away. It appeared that the home once had a second floor that was blown away.  - Gary Ultee, Hunt County WATCH VIDEO

12:32p Hail about the size of golf balls caused major damage to cars and homes in the town of Prosper in Collin County. Hail shot through car and home windows. in houses across the town, many homes had all their windows busted out during the storm. Out of the 3,500 households in the town, 30 to 40 percent of the homes were damaged, the fire department said. - Gary Reaves, WFAA WATCH VIDEO

12:28p It has been confirmed that two separate tornadoes hit Alvarado and Rio Vista, said Bill Bunting with the National Weather Service. The Rio Vista tornado was determined to be a high-end EF-1, which means straight-line winds were estimated to be between 100 to 110 mph. The level of the tornado that hit Alvarado has yet to be determined. - Cynthia Vega, Rio Vista

NOON: Preliminary reports indicate that the damage in Johnson County could have been caused by an EF-1 tornado. Local fire department officials were meeting with the National Weather Service just after noon to make that final determination. Residents in Rio Vista were hit especially hard by the storms. One woman said she was sleeping in a bedroom of the second floor of her house when the storm hit. Just as she managed to run down to the first floor, winds blew off her roof. She was able to get out of the house safe.  - Cynthia Vega, Rio Vista

10:45a The power remains off at Berry and Terry middle schools and Achziger and Thompson elementary schools in Mesquite. Those who want to pick up their children from the schools are allowed to do so, the district has said. However, if parents are unable to pick up their child, students will be kept at the school until the remainder of the day. - WFAA

9:35a A whole side of the Medicine Chest Pharmacies was ripped off during the storms. The business, which is located off West Highway 67 in Alvarado, resembled a doll house in which everything could be seen inside. - WFAA

8:50a Schools in the Red Oak and Alvarado ISDs have been closed due to heavy damage from the overnight storms. - WFAA

8a Early morning storms have left widespread damage across Waxahachie. No reports of any injuries, but plenty of debris is now littering neighborhoods and highways. The Comfort Suites off Highway 287 and Interstate 35E lost part of its roof during the storm. Winds estimated to be 70-90 mph tore the front corner of the roof right off, sending it crashing down to the parking lot below. - Cynthia Vega, Waxahachie

7a Oncor is reporting 93,000 without power. - WFAA

6:50a We're off 174 just north of Royal Vista in Johnson County, which was one of the areas worst hit by the overnight storms. There is a debris field that is at least a quarter to a half mile long in length. The debris includes anything from fencing to sheet metal to beams and structures. There is just massive amount of damage on this property. Along the highway, there is also an 18-wheeler that is pinned by power lines. There is a line in front of him and a line behind him, and he can't go anywhere. - Gary Ultee from HD Chopper 8

5a Residents in Oak Point in Denton County will likely be without power for one to two days, reported the Denton County Fire Marshal's Office. Twenty-two power poles were reported down, in addition to power lines, trees and fences. Most damage came in a line from Corinth to Celina. - WFAA

3:20a Oncor now says more than 76,000 customers have lost power in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.

3:17a More storm damage reports are coming in. A roof was blown off a house north of downtown Terrell along Highway 205. In Crandall, large trees are down and power lines have toppled.

3:09a In Prosper, there are reports of many west-facing windows shattered by the intense hailstorm earlier this evening. Neighborhoods are buzzing with activity as homeowners use tarp and plywood to shield property from rain. A number of vehicles also suffered window damage in the storm.

2:50a Oncor Electric Delivery reports about 45,000 customers had lost power in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as of 2:43 a.m. Monday.

2:49a The TORNADO WARNING for Hunt County has now been canceled.

2:46a It looks like we're starting to see the first signs of a decrease in intensity of these storms, with smaller hail and less rain. We are not seeing any severe weather in Dallas-Fort Worth right now, and we're not anticipating any redevelopment overnight.

2:37a In Ellis County, there is a report of weather damage at a Comfort Suites hotel about two miles north of Waxahachie on US 287 just east of Interstate 35E.

2:32a The TORNADO WARNING for Kaufman and Rockwall counties has been canceled. A TORNADO WARNING continues until 3 a.m. for southern Hunt County.

2:31a The National Weather Service is reporting some business signs are down and car ports have collapsed in Seagoville, in southeastern Dallas County.

2:21a The TORNADO WARNING for Dallas County has now been canceled.

2:19a We're starting to see signs of a possible new tornado developing southwest of Kaufman moving east at 50 mph.

2:14a The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO WARNING for southeastern Dallas County until 2:45 a.m. A TORNADO WARNING for southern Hunt County, northern Kaufman County and Rockwall County is now in effect until 3 a.m.

2:12a This is going to be a damaging wind event for much of Kaufman County. The storm will be in Forney at 2:19 as it continues to move to the east. The storm will be right on Lake Tawakoni around 3 a.m.

2:07a The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO WARNING for southeastern Dallas County and northern Kaufman County until 2:45 a.m.

1:57a A WFAA viewer in Denton County reported that hail broke through a west-facing window in a child's bedroom, sending hail flying through the room and 30 feet down the hall into the living room of their home in Aubrey. Fortunately, no one was hurt. VIEW PHOTOS

1:54a First reports of possible tornado damage now coming in from just north of Waxahachie, with winds reported in excess of 90 mph. Power is out in parts the area between Waxahachie and Midlothian. Palmer, Ennis and Ferris are next in line for this storm.

1:45a We're seeing wind gusts of 80 mph in Waxahachie. An intense thunderstorm is spotted just northeast of Waxahachie, and that's where our primary concern is being focused right now.

1:37a The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO WARNING for Ellis County until 2:15 a.m. At 1:34 a.m., National Weather Service meteorologists detected a developing tornado 4 miles north of Maypearl moving east at 65 mph. There are other small tornadoes possible along the severe line of thunderstorms. Everyone in the warning should take precautions immediately. The tornado will be near  Waxahachie and Ovilla around 1:40 a.m.; Pecan Hill, Red Oak and Oak Leaf around 1:45 a.m.; Palmer, Garrett and Ennis around 1:50 a.m.; and Ferris around 1:55 a.m.

1:35a A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Dallas County

1:30a WeatherBug reporting stations are indicating damaging wind gusts. In Alvarado there was a gust of 82 mph; In Cleburne, 59 mph; in Frisco, 52 mph. - Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus

1:28a There are reports coming in from Prosper of hail piling up two feet deep. We've also heard reports of roofs being blown off in Justin. - Meteorologist Steve McCauley

1:24a As the storms roll through North Texas overnight, we're seeing a 100 percent blanket coverage of rainfall across the region. The latest line of storms is moving into downtown Dallas right now. - Meteorologist Steve McCauley

1:15a The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO WARNING for Johnson County until 1:45 a.m. Doppler radar has detected a possible tornado 9 miles southeast of Keene, almost due south of Fort Worth. - Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus

1:13a Some areas are reporting 3/4 to 1 inch of rainfall in a very short period of time.

1:12a Trees and limbs are reported down in Haslet.

1:05a In Little Elm, in southeast Denton County, a small tree has blown down, blocking one westbound lane of Eldorado Parkway just east of City Hall. On a residential street, many plastic garbage cans that had been set out for morning collection were blown down, sending litter flying across yards and sidewalks. - Walt Zwirko,

Sunday, April 10

10:35p The National Weather Service has now canceled the severe thunderstorm warning for Tarrant County. - Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus

10:28p We're starting to see evidence that the base of the thunderstorm clouds is rising in altitude, which means a reduction in the tornado threat in North Texas, but we could still see high winds and heavy rain as these storms pass through the region. - Meteorologist Steve McCauley

10:24p A wind gust of 50 mph has been measured at the Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth. We have a report of golf ball size hail falling in Lake Worth. - Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus

10:19p As these storms move east across North Texas overnight, we're going to get some soaking rain. You're also going to see a lot of lightning and you're going to hear a lot of thunder for the next several hours as the potential for damaging winds and large hail remains in our forecast. - Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus

10:17p A severe thunderstorm warning remains in effect until 11 p.m. for northern Tarrant County. A severe thunderstorm warning for eastern Parker County has been canceled.  - National Weather Service

10:13p There are no reports of damage in Parker County.

10:09p The thunderstorm associated with the tornado warning is on the Parker-Tarrant County line right now, but the storm has weakened. The tornado warning for Parker County has now been canceled. - Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus

10:07p The National Weather Service is detecting a possible developing tornado near Anetta moving to the northeast at about 40 mph. -  Meteorologist Steve McCauley

10:05p A dry line and a cold front have merged, they are moving slowly through North Texas overnight. I'm concerned about damaging winds, but let's not forget that we are in a drought and this is good news. - Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus

10:03p Tarrant County is under a severe thunderstorm warning until 11 p.m. That means residents can expect winds gusting to 60 mph along with golf ball-size hail.

9:47p The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO WARNING for southern Parker County until 10:30 p.m. Sunday.Wonkas