Weatherford News

Home engulfed by flames following lightning strike

The home at 282 Saddle Club Rd., was a total loss when it caught fire following a lightning strike Tuesday morning.
The home at 282 Saddle Club Rd., was a total loss when it caught fire following a lightning strike Tuesday morning. Weatherford Star-Telegram

Tuesday morning, following a pounding by Mother Nature the evening before, residents of Parker County were cleaning up when another round of storms wreaked havoc on one family.

The homeowners were preparing to investigate a water leak coming from the chimney but before they could access the roof, the home was struck by lightning, starting a fire.

A husband, wife and nephew escaped injury but the Parker County Fire Marshal said the home was a "total loss." The home also contained a business, which had a dental lab upstairs.

The incident occurred not far from the community of Cool, which was struck by a suspected tornado the night before. The estimated value of the home is in excess of $300,000.

Possible tornado Monday night

On U.S. 180, west of Fort Worth and near Cool, several Oncor crews were still working in the early morning hours Tuesday to restore power after a series of severe thunderstorms, flash floods and a possible tornado damaged seven homes, closed a highway in northwestern Parker County and injured a horse so badly that it was put down Monday night.

Debris covered highways, trees were knocked over and a hay bale hit a car so hard that it was put out of service, Joel Kertok, Parker County’s emergency management coordinator, said.

The resident of one of the damaged houses had to be rescued through a window by firefighters.

Eight miles of westbound U.S. 180 west of Weatherford were closed because of downed power lines until after 9 p.m, Kertok said. Several roads were blocked in Wise County late in the evening because of flooding.

A horse’s leg was broken in the Parker County town of Cool after it was hit in the storm, Sheriff Larry Fowler said.

The horse had to be put down, he said.

Flash flood warnings were extended by the National Weather Service several times through late Monday. A flood advisory was issued for Denton and Cooke counties through 11:45 p.m.

Although high winds cannot be called a tornado until National Weather Service meteorologists do a damage assessment, Kertok said he was sure that a tornado traveling north-northeast and wrapped in rain touched down in Cool shortly after 6 p.m.

Kertok said he was driving to Mineral Wells on westbound U.S. 180 at 6:05 p.m. and was a mile from Cool when the downpour pattern of rain shifted suddenly.

“I could tell something wasn’t right the way the winds shifted directions, and I was then driving through horizontal rain,” Kertok said.

He said he pulled over on the side of the highway where he saw trees blow down, debris north and south of U.S. 180 and wind speeds that felt like 90 mph.

Hail up to an inch in diameter was reported, said Matt Stalley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

The weather service reported high water rescues in Palo Pinto and Wise counties.

Roadways throughout Palo Pinto County remained “treacherous” Monday night, and although water started to subside about 9 p.m., debris covered roadways, trooper Ricky Hunter, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman, wrote in an email.

All high-water rescues were successful, with one minor injury, Hunter said.

Farm Road 4 between Lone Camp and Santo was closed because of high water at 10 p.m.

“This is still a rapidly developing situation,” he wrote.

Flash flood warnings were issued for Bridgeport, Weatherford, Decatur, Briar, Millsap, Cool, Graford and Mineral Wells throughout the night.

And severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for Gainesville, Valley View, Callisburg, Muenster, Bridgeport and Boyd.

Palo Pinto County is under a severe thunderstorm watch until 9 a.m. Tuesday and a flash flood watch until noon.

Rain may continue through Friday, but will clear out by Sunday, according to the Weather Service.

Through Monday, the Dallas-Fort Worth region had received 3.27 inches of rain this year, 2.32 inches below normal.

“We’ll likely have that whole thing erased the end of the week,” weather service meteorologist Jesse Moore said.

Areas west of the Metroplex had already picked up 2-4 inches of rain Monday night. But Tarrant County had less than half an inch.

A flash flood watch will be in effect from 6 p.m. Tuesday until 6 p.m. Wednesday for counties just east of Dallas. Some parts of East Texas could get more than 7 inches of rain.

“The areas that should see the heaviest rainfall will be well to the east of us, closer to Louisiana,” weather service meteorologist Dan Huckaby said. “Some of those areas could see double what we see here in the Metroplex.”


Lance Winter: 817-594-9902, Ext. 102,

Twitter: @LanceWinter