JARRELL, Texas (KXAN) — After an aerial survey of the storm damage near Jarrell, the National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday a tornado did hit Williamson County during severe storms Monday night.
NWS said in a press conference there was a “concentrated area of tornadic damage” as well as damage from straight-line winds. It classified the tornado as a “high-end EF-1” or strong EF-1, with wind speeds “likely 100-110 miles per hour.” Specific information on the tornado track and wind speeds won’t be available until Wednesday.
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“This is the third tornado to hit Jarrell or the Jarrell area in the last seven months. It’s a community that has been really hit hard by the weather,” said Williamson County Commissioner Russ Boles.
Just after 8:45 p.m. on Monday, a Tornado Warning was issued for parts of northern Williamson County, including the town of Jarrell. That storm produced the tornado south of Jarrell. NWS tweeted out a map Tuesday of the areas it was surveying for tornado damage.
Jarrell tornadoes in 2022
The Jarrell area experienced three tornadoes so far in 2022 — in March, April and this one in October.
NWS said the March and April tornadoes were both rated at EF-1 intensity while they moved through the Jarrell area. The April tornado, which was closer to Florence, continued into Bell County and became an EF-3.
According to preliminary survey data, the paths of the March and October tornadoes crossed over the same area just west of Interstate 35.
Below is a map of the path of the three Jarrell-area tornadoes this year.
Williamson County response
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said during the aerial survey, they observed about three dozen homes or businesses that sustained light to severe damages. At least one home that was under construction had collapsed.
There was no loss of life, according to Gravell. He attributed that to the county’s emergency alert system and local media which helped get the word out to take cover.
“Our residents are smart. They know in tough times and tough weather to pay attention,” Gravell said.
One of the buildings hit the hardest during the severe storms on Monday was the ESD 5 Fire Station, located at 155 County Road 313. It had part of its roof blown off as well as its doors. A spokesperson with Williamson County said no one at the station was hurt.
“One of the firefighters came out and started opening up the door. He said all six of the doors sucked inward and then five of them just collapsed,” said Fire Chief Ron Stewart.
The chief said the damage shouldn’t affect their services.
The county said it also received reports that at least two residences had parts of their roofs ripped off. A home being built on County Road 310 was also blown over in the strong winds.
Jarrell Police Chief Kevin Denney said on Tuesday teams were out assessing the damage and will report it back to the state and county.
Chief Stewart added crews were searching for anyone who may be trapped and can’t call for help. He also said electric crews were out all night working to restore power.
Strong winds also created issues for 18-wheelers traveling on I-35. The Jarrell Office of Emergency Management reported Monday night several 18-wheelers were toppled on their sides on the highway as well as the frontage road, shutting down roadways.
Chief Stewart said Tuesday there was one minor injury attributed to an 18-wheeler overturning. A driver was taken to the hospital to be evaluated for a non-life-threatening injury.
Those southbound I-35 lanes have since reopened, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Jarrell Independent School District Superintendent Toni Hicks said Tuesday no schools were damaged, but the district was put on a two-hour delay due to facility power outages. After buses worked to transport students safely to campuses, she said schools are in normal operations now. All power was restored at 8 a.m. in the district, including the internet and the phones.
If your area or home sustained storm damage from Monday night, you can self-report the damage to the state through this Texas Division of Emergency Management website.
Residents clean up after storm
Throughout Jarrell Tuesday afternoon, residents could be seen picking up debris blown into their yards.
Traveling east on County Road 313, stretches of fence along the road were blown over, medium-sized trees were uprooted and shingles from roofs were strewn into yards.
Robert Ingram lives in a neighborhood off this road. He said he called into work in order to rebuild his backyard fence with the help of his sons.
Ingram said he and his wife were in the living room watching the tv for storm updates when the tornado passed through. As winds picked up, they rushed to their laundry room to ride out whatever was coming their way.
Ingram has lived in this part of Williamson County most of his life. While he is no stranger to storms, Monday night’s encounter was as close as he’d like to be to a twister ever again.
“I’ve seen tornadoes, but I’ve never been in one. Last night was probably the closest with all that wind. I’ll never forget it, just that eerie sound it made when it came through,” said Ingram.