The communities in Texas are picking up the pieces Tuesday morning after suspected tornadoes were touched down in the state on Monday, leaving dozens of structures damaged, at least 10 hospitalized and thousands without power.
At least 10 people were taken to hospitals in the severe weather in Grayson County, according to the county emergency management office.
Over 47,000 customers remain without power from kl. 8 Tuesday morning, with the worst outages in the Houston and Carson County areas, according to PowerOutage.us.
The storm system, which swept through the Lone Star state and left extensive damage, is now moving east toward Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, where it could potentially trigger “a regionally severe weather outbreak,” according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.
As many as 80 homes and businesses in Jack County, west of Dallas, were damaged or destroyed when a possible tornado hit the county and town of Jacksboro shortly after noon. 15, officials said.
The city’s high school and elementary school were also in the storm’s path and damaged.
Shocking images of Jacksboro High School show a wall and part of the roof of the gym torn off and exposed bricks and insulation foam.
At the elementary school, vehicles were overturned outside the building, Jacksboro Police Chief Scott W. Haynes said.
“We are blessed that there are no injuries, no serious injuries, out of the elemental,” Haynes told reporters.
There was also damage in Round Rock, north of Austin, after what city officials said was a tornado.
Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks said a funnel cloud was seen on the south side of town and that there was “extreme structural damage” but no known deaths or serious injuries.
Video footage shared on social media from a Walmart on Round Rock shows what appears to be a tornado moving in the parking lot while people frantically sprint inside the store to seek shelter.
In the Austin region, there were likely tornadoes in the Round Rock and Elgin areas, National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Treadway said, but these and other suspected tornadoes need to be confirmed by investigation teams.
Tornado clocks on Monday night covered a shard from east San Antonio to northwestern Louisiana and southwestern Arkansas, according to the weather service.
About 22 million people were at risk for severe storms Monday over Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, including for possible nocturnal tornadoes that occur after dark, forecasters said.
Nocturnal tornadoes are two and a half times more deadly than their counterparts during the day, in part for people who sleep and do not have the opportunity to be awakened by warnings.
19 tornado reports were made in Texas and Oklahoma on Monday to the National Weather Service, but they are unconfirmed and need to be confirmed by storm investigation teams.
One of them was in Marshall County, Oklahoma, where a possible tornado caused a reported quarter mile of damage in the Kingston area, NBC-affiliated KFOR in Oklahoma City reported.
No serious injuries were reported immediately, but drone video from the station showed smashed and destroyed buildings. The weather service office in Norman said investigation teams would be dispatched Tuesday to evaluate the damage.
Severe weather is expected during the first half of the week. Forecasters warn of potential tornadoes, electric storms, softball-sized hail and winds of over 60 mph through Wednesday in large parts of the South and Mid-Atlantic Seas.
On Sunday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center announced a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms (a threat level of 4 on a scale of 5) for Tuesday. The last time such a high level of threat was issued so far in advance was prior to the Easter Sunday eruption on April 12, 2020. The eruption produced 16 EF3 and EF4 tornadoes.
Snow fell Monday afternoon in Colorado and Kansas along the north side of the system, with forecasts predicting between 4 and 10 inches and white conditions.
Tuesday night, 10 million people are in danger of violent storms for what is expected to be the most dangerous of the three days of a possible regional tornado outbreak. The storm will continue in the morning and continue overnight.
Cities to see closely include Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, New Orleans, Jackson, Mississippi, Tuscaloosa and Mobile, Alabama. Several significant tornadoes are possible along with heavy hail and strong winds, and nocturnal tornadoes are again expected to be a risk Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, the storm system is expected to track eastward, again bringing the risk of all serious hazards to 25 million people from northern Florida into most of the southeast and mid-Atlantic. Mid-week cities to see include Atlanta, Tallahassee, Florida, Charleston, South Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina.
In addition to the severe thunderstorms, floods are also a problem in the same regions.
Precipitation rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour can locally amount to 6 to 7 inches in some places. The soil in many areas is already quite saturated and the streams are already running high.
The biggest risks Tuesday and Tuesday nights are across eastern Louisiana to central Mississippi and Alabama.
Dual dangers of severe weather and lightning floods can be challenging for meteorologists to communicate and for the public to respond to, because simultaneous tornado and storm surge warnings have conflicting recommendations as to what to do in the event of such being issued. For tornadoes, that act is sheltered underground. For floods, this action moves to higher terrain.
Meteorologists urged everyone in the path of storms to review their plan for severe weather conditions, pay attention and listen to experts who provide life-saving information. This includes having a way to get alerts, such as activating emergency alarms and notifications on smartphones or having a NOAA weather radio.