A fast moving storm that unleashed at least one tornado tore across North Texas early Wednesday, damaging homes, snapping and uprooting trees, and knocking out electricity to thousands of residents.
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-0 tornado, with wind speeds of 65 to 85 mph, touched down along U.S. 377 on the border of Watauga and Keller, where a Home Depot was damaged, storage sheds were overturned and power lines were knocked down.
Straight-line winds were responsible for most of the damage, including in Rockwall, east of Dallas, where winds speeds of 95 mph were recorded, according to the National Weather Service.
The early storms knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. That number had been reduced to about 65,000 — including 40,000 in Tarrant County — by 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to Oncor.
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The power outages forced some schools to close during a day when STAAR testing was scheduled. Schools were closed down entirely in the Mansfield and Glen Rose districts and a handful of schools were closed in the Arlington district.
A wind gust of 83 mph was reported early Wednesday in north Fort Worth by the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth. Other wind gusts reported included 75 mph in Frisco, 65 mph in Granbury and 62 mph in Denton.
Fox4 News showed large trees uprooted in North Richland Hills. Several homes in Rockwall had damage from the strong winds, according to WFAA-TV.
Fort Worth Fire Department battled a fire for about an hour around 3 a.m. at a gas station and small strip mall on Boat Club Road in Fort Worth. The fire occurred as the severe weather moved through the area. No injuries were reported, but damage from the weather and fire was being assessed early Wednesday, said Lt. Kyle Falker, department spokesman.
- Mansfield school district — all campuses
- Tarrant County College — Southeast campus (Arlington)
- Arlington school district — Arlington Collegiate, Bowie, Seguin and Venture high schools; Newcomer Center; Barnett, Nichols, Ousley and Turning Point junior high schools; Ashworth, Bebensee, Beckham, Bryant, Butler, Fitzgerald, Pearcy, Starrett, West and Williams elementary schools.
- Glen Rose school district — all campuses
STAAR testing information:
- Fifth- and eighth-grade students scheduled to take the reading test Wednesday are to take the test Thursday. High school students are still scheduled to take the English test on Thursday.
- Students who were absent Wednesday at a school where the STAAR was not rescheduled will have the opportunity to make up the test Friday.