WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — As a tornado tore through Williamson County and touched down on what is usually a busy Interstate 35 near the State Highway 45 toll, Judge Bill Gravell got a phone call. It was from Gov. Greg Abbott.
“Within five minutes of the video being on television, the Governor was calling me,” Gravell said.
In an interview on KXAN News Today on Tuesday, Gravell said Abbott assured him the state would help in any way it could.
Gravell signed a disaster declaration Monday night around 10 p.m., saying there are millions of dollars in damage throughout the county
“We believe there is at least $2 million in the La Frontera area where the tornado originally came down,” Gravell said.
Due to some of the damage, Gravell said power has been intentionally shut off to some neighborhoods so crews can work safely to fix downed lines and clean up other damage caused. He realizes it’s not an ideal situation, but wants those residents to stay patient and he assured crews are working as quickly as possible.
“We need the daylight to shed some light on where we’re at,” Gravell said. “Hundreds of residents in Williamson County have been affected by this.”
As crews survey the damage, no deaths have been reported, only minor injuries. While National Weather Service personnel will make it official in the coming days, Gravell said county officials said one of the tornadoes that began at I-35 and SH 45 traveled 23 miles out to Granger.
“It wasn’t on the ground the entire time, it went up and down,” Gravell said, “but homes and property were destroyed. We’ve also got pretty significant damage reports from the Liberty Hill, Hutto and Taylor areas.”
Gravell said they’ll also need daylight to figure out what kind of damage a suspected tornado did near the Jarrell area.