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Strong storms rip through DFW with hail, rain, wind

FORT WORTH -- North Texans awoke early Friday to a thunderous drenching from a severe storm system that brought damage to some areas in the region, including wind-shorn trees and windows busted by hail in Denton County.

The roof was peeled from Edsco Fasteners, a business in the 2200 block of Worthington Drive in northwest Denton. Large tree limbs also fell on roof tops in the city.

Meanwhile, residents near Krum were responding to hail damaged roofs and windows after storms rolled through the area around 3 a.m.

Nearly three hours later, nickel-size hail was reported from a storm that pushed east from southeast Johnson County into western Ellis County, but there were no immediate reports of damage from that storm.

By 5:30 a.m., North Texas had seen the worst of the damage.

A severe thunderstorm watch, however, was still on three hours later for areas along a line stretching east from Goldthwaite, to Waxahachie and on to Emory, east of Dallas.

The weather system, nevertheless, left its marks, starting at about 3 a.m., when it reached North Texas.

"It wasn't as severe as it could have been," said Jesse Moore, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

"But," he added, "if you talk to people in Denton County right now, they'll tell you it was pretty bad for them.

"We had hail reports across Jack, Wise, Denton, Collin and Hunt counties, as well as Cooke County."

Hail damage was reported by Capt. Calvin Bland of the Krum Fire Department.

"We got some hail damage to some cars," Bland said. "And then some back windows got knocked out of a mobile home; there was some siding damage, too."

Bland said firefighters helped put tarps over the mobile home's windows, and the person who lived there reported hail that was larger than the quarter-size chunks that Bland saw at the fire station.

Race fans camping at Texas Motor Speedway were struck by a severe storm that produced large hail as it passed through Denton County. Campers were advised to take cover in any covered structure, according to reports.

But there were no reports of severe damage at TMS, according to Lt. Paul Henderson, a spokesman for Fort Worth Police, who was also camping at the race track to oversee traffic and crowd control.

"I woke up to the sound of heavy rain," Henderson said. "There was a lot of rain and wind."

Baseball-size hail, however, was reported overnight in northern Wise County, said Paul Cunningham, the county's fire marshal.

"We had two houses damaged," Cunningham said. "The windows were broken from the hail. There may have been more but that's all that we had reported."

D/FW Airport recorded a quarter inch of rain, but communities in Wise, Denton and Collin counties had between 1-2 inches, Moore said.

The storms also caused problems for motorists as wet roads and gusty winds hampered driving conditions.

Eastbound Interstate 30 at Ballpark Way was completely shut down at 7 a.m., the result of a single-vehicle accident that happened about an hour earlier, a police dispatcher said.

One person was transported to Arlington Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the dispatcher said.

It was unclear if the wreck was weather related, but it was a traffic choke point, forcing motorists to get off the interstate to seek alternative routes.

In Dallas a major wreck in which a tractor-trailer rig straddled the center median barriers caused a traffic backup for several hours on the North Dallas Tollway at Forest Lane.

An estimated 1,300 power outages were reported in the Metroplex, said Carol Peters, spokeswoman for Oncor Electric Delivery. About 900 were in Dallas County and about 400 were in Tarrant County, Peters said.

"These are not significant outages," Peters said at about 10:15 a.m.

By 11 a.m., however, those numbers dwindled to 50 outages in Dallas County and none in Tarrant County, Peters said.

Weather service forecasters predicted the storm system would be a major event after watching several factors develop throughout the week.

The main ingredient was an upper-level disturbance that originated Thursday over Southern California and rapidly moved east, arriving overnight in Texas.

As expected, it linked up with a cold front from the Central Plains states, Moore said.

Another factor was a dry line boundary in Texas that separated dry desert air and the humid air, and helped trigger storm activity as the line pushed east.

The moist air was contributed by southerly winds from the Gulf of Mexico, which had been blowing all week.

But Texas wasn't the only state to get hit.

Weather service radar early Friday showed a large swath of storms stretching from North Texas to Arkansas and on into the Midwest and to the East Coast.

A tornado hit a mobile home park Thursday night near Little Rock and set several of them on fire, according to broadcast reports. The Associated Press reported a tornado destroyed a hangar at the North Little Rock Airport and flipped several single-engine airplanes.

The rest of Friday was expected to be cool in North Texas, with a daytime high of about 65 degrees, Moore said. Afternoon sunny skies will offer a preview to the rest of the weekend.

It will be sunny Saturday and partly cloudy on Sunday, with temperatures in the 70s on both days, the weather service said.