Texas

Tornado hits downtown Mineral Wells, no injuries reported

Debris from the roof of the Poston Building lies on top of an abandoned bank building and out onto North Oak Street in downtown Mineral Wells after a tornado went through Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
Debris from the roof of the Poston Building lies on top of an abandoned bank building and out onto North Oak Street in downtown Mineral Wells after a tornado went through Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Special to the Star-Telegram

A tornado touched down in Mineral Wells shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday, causing major damage downtown, according to police.

No injuries were reported. But an abandoned bank building collapsed, two churches were damaged, and a county building lost its roof, a police dispatcher said.

The twister came close to the Mineral Wells Police Department but did not damage the building, the dispatcher said. Debris filled the streets, but the landmark Baker Hotel was not touched.

City Manager Lance Howerton said the damage was concentrated in a six- to eight-block section downtown. The path of damage was diagonal across U.S. 180 from southwest to northeast.

Crews were working to clear debris from the roadways last night.

“There is fairly significant but fairly isolated damage,” Howerton said.

Mineral Wells Mayor Mike Allen saw the wall cloud from his home after the tornado had lifted.

“It appears to have been short-lived,” Allen said. “It looks like it touched down and went back up pretty quickly. We’ll know more in the morning.”

Across North Texas, five tornadoes touched down Tuesday night, according to preliminary reports provided by the National Weather Service.

Two tornadoes were spotted outside Palo Pinto, another east of Waxahachie, and the fourth was the one in Mineral Wells, which was the largest, said Mark Fox, the National Weather Service’s warning coordination meteorologist. The last was in Runaway Bay, where three homes were destroyed, WFAA reported.

Meteorologists were looking at the possibility that another tornado hit northwest of Jacksboro.

Significant damage was reported to homes near the Boonesville community of Wise County, according to the weather service.

Teams will go out in the field and assess the damage Wednesday, weather permitting, Fox said.

Tornado warnings for Wise and Denton counties were in effect through 10:45 p.m. A flash flood warning was issued for Jack County through 12:15 a.m.

Earlier Tuesday, a tornado touched down in Giddings, damaging outbuildings and the roof of a Ramada Inn, the city’s emergency manager said. Debris blown through a hotel window struck a male guest in the head. He was sent to a hospital in San Marcos, about 60 miles southwest of Giddings, for treatment of head lacerations.

Police in San Angelo, where more than 4.5 inches of rain fell Monday, reported scattered road closures. One man was killed when his vehicle hydroplaned and hit a traffic signal pole Monday night.

San Angelo Regional Airport closed early Tuesday as floodwaters entered the terminal, a spokesman said. Storms Monday night forced an American Eagle plane bound for San Angelo to divert to Abilene.

Firefighters in Abilene blamed lightning for a blaze Tuesday that destroyed a vacant house.

Staff writer Bill Hanna contributed to this report, which includes material from The Associated Press.

Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792

Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST

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