LINDALE, Texas — The National Weather Servicesaid a tornado touched down Saturday in this town 90 miles southeast of Dallas, causing significant damage.
Meanwhile, residents in Willis, 50 miles north of Houston, said a tornado damaged homes and businesses.
The NWS sent investigators to Lindale on Sunday to assess the damage and determine the strength of the tornado.
Several homes were badly damaged as the storm made its way northeast. No major injuries were reported.
Lindale Mayor Robert Nelson declared a disaster in the city.
“Preliminary estimates indicate six to eight homes with major damage, with another 30 to 35 with lesser damage,” Nelson said.
“We have received a number of calls and walk-in volunteers who wish to help,” but the mayor asked people to avoid the area so emergency crews could continue their work.
“While we appreciate the support for our community, right now we ask for thoughts and prayers for those affected. We ask that the general public to stay away from the area until a plan is developed,” he said.
In Willis, damage was reported at a fabrication company, a local restaurant and several trailer homes. There were no injuries reported.
Melissa Snell was driving southbound from Huntsville and encountered the damage moments after the tornado had passed.
“There were branches all over 45 both north and south bound side,” she told KHOU-TV. “Pine trees were down in the shoulder on the northbound side, and traffic was slowed in both directions as people made their way through the debris.”
Forest Harvey Jr. was waiting inside a gas station for the chance to salvage his belongings after his trailer home was totaled. He had just moved to the area two months earlier to be closer to family and to escape the Michigan winter.
“If I had gotten insurance on it last week like I had planned … and now no insurance to take care of it. My trailer is totally demolished.” he said.
His next-door neighbor, Ted Martin rushed home from work, fearing the worst for his 3-year-old mini Daschund, Fido. “Luckily some lady got my dog, pulled him through the window. She was holding him … thank God.” Martin said.
Contributing: WFAA-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth; KHOU-TV, Houston.