Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange said at least 15 to 20 homes were damaged or destroyed by yesterday’s tornado that hit central Texas, but despite extensive damage, no deaths were reported. Only injuries were reported, of which 12 were hospitalized, including one in critical condition.
Officials said multiple tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and had caused widespread damage north of Austin.
The residents of Bell County were calling 911 to warn of the presence of the tornado and report the hail fall up to 5.5 inches in Salado, Arkansas and South Dakota.
Tornadoes also caused damage in Humboldt County, Iowa, where a vehicle crashed into a tree that was toppled by the storm without its driver being injured.
Since March, the United States Storm Prediction Center (SPC) had issued a severe weather watch for parts of central and eastern Texas, raising to a level 4 out of 5 the risk of severe storms and strong tornadoes, along with very large hail and damaging winds.
Downed power lines, trees uprooted from the ground and some buildings reduced to rubble in different areas were other effects caused by the phenomenon.
Tuesday brought a dual-threat storm system spawning at least eight tornadoes mainly in Texas and Iowa, as well as heavy snowfall in several states, including the Dakotas, Montana and Minnesota.
Heavy snow closed more than 500 miles of Interstate 94 between Montana and North Dakota.
A mountainous area near Pony, Montana, recorded 47 inches of snow in a 24-hour period, according to the NWS.
Many other parts of the state received more than a foot of snow.
In North Dakota, more than a foot of snow was recorded in several locations, including Grand Forks and Rockford, according to NWS data.
As the system moves east, it is producing a trio of threats – damaging winds, tornadoes, and large hail.
More than 97 million people are under some form of severe weather warning Wednesday, from Texas and Louisiana to Missouri and Illinois.
Williamson County maintains the advisory to residents so they are aware of local weather forecasts and know where to go if tornadoes become a warning.
The biggest threats are expected in Memphis, Tennessee; Evansville, Ind.; Jonesboro Pine Bluff, and Little Rock in Arkansas; Owensboro, Kentucky – where more than 5 million people are at moderate risk (level 4 of 5).