Fort Worth

Overnight storms produce 2 tornadoes, high winds in North Texas

Storm blows steeple off church near downtown Fort Worth

A steeple blew off of the Samuels Avenue Neighborhood Center church and damages cars near downtown Fort Worth.
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A steeple blew off of the Samuels Avenue Neighborhood Center church and damages cars near downtown Fort Worth.

The storms that rumbled through early Tuesday were as strong as advertised, spawning brief tornadoes in Keller and Corinth to the north and estimates of 80 mph wind gusts to parts of Tarrant and Denton counties.

The weather service confirmed that an EF0 tornado with 70-80 mph winds cut a small path through Keller, damaging the roof of a home. The tornado stayed on the ground for four-tenths of a mile and was 30 yards wide.

In Corinth, a brief EF1 tornado with 85-95 mph winds, 50 yards wide, stayed on the ground for 1.5 miles. It heavily damaged a car wash. There was also roof damage to a hotel and minor damage to several other buildings.

In Granbury, straight-line winds damaged the 50-foot wooden screen tower on the 63-year-old Brazos Drive-In, but the owner vowed to show The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 as scheduled this weekend.

No injuries were reported across North Texas, but there were numerous reports of tree and roof damage, as well as widespread power outages.

“It doesn’t take much, with really moist soils, to topple over trees,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Stalley. “If you’re getting up close to 60 mph it can start taking up trees pretty easily.”

Before Tuesday’s tornado in Keller, four confirmed November twisters had been recorded in Tarrant County. The most recent was Nov. 5 in north Fort Worth. Before that, the most recent was in southwest Fort Worth on Nov. 20, 1994.

At one time, more than 6,000 Oncor customers across the county were without power, but the number had dropped to fewer than 1,000 by 2 p.m.

Downed power lines were reported to the Fort Worth Fire Department in north Fort Worth off Jacksboro Highway, and north of downtown on Samuels Avenue, where tree limbs and leaves were scattered on the sides of streets and a steeple blew off the top of a church.

The large line of storms stretching from the Red River to near Waco arrived in Fort Worth about 2:30 a.m. but had moved into far East Texas by Tuesday afternoon.

As the line of storms moved through Tarrant County, tornado sirens started going off, sounding in Grapevine and surrounding areas at about 4 a.m.

This is it for this week. We’ll stay in kind of a cool, dry pattern.

Eric Martello, meteorologist at the National Weather Service

Star-Telegram media partner WFAA Channel 8 reported that one Hurst neighborhood had damage to trees and vehicles and that an 18-wheeler was overturned by heavy winds at a Wal-Mart in Lewisville, northeast of Fort Worth.

There were no MedStar ambulance calls related to the storm.

A flash flood watch issued for the DFW Metroplex was canceled at 6:15 a.m.

At Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, the official rainfall recording station, officials tabulated 0.74 inch of rain from the overnight storms. That brings the yearly total to 50.75 inches, the third-wettest year on record. The most rain in the area in a year was recorded in 1991 when 53.54 inches fell; second was 51.03 inches in 1932, according to weather service statistics.

With the storms moving east, it will remain dry until this weekend, when another slight chance of rain is forecast. Another chance of storms is predicted for next week.

With the storms coming regularly, WFAA meteorologist Greg Fields said there’s a good chance this will become the wettest year on record.

“We’re getting very close to that 1991 all-time wettest mark of 53.54,” Fields said. “At the rate we’re going, I think the odds are very good that 2015 may set a new record.”

Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7684

Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST

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