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article imageMonster mile-wide tornado, softball-sized hail pummels Texas

By Megan Hamilton     Apr 27, 2015 in Environment
Rio Vista - A monster tornado touched down in north-central Texas as part of a storm system that brought hail as big as softballs and dangerous winds.
The tornado, described as a mile long knocked out power to more than 30,000 people.
That's according to online reports from local power companies, and more severe weather is likely on Monday, NBC News reports. Austin Energy reported the largest number of people who were affected, with 7,600 without power.
The huge tornado moved through the town of Rio Vista, and then veered east into rural areas of Johnson County, said Jamie Moore, Emergency Management Director to NBC News. When first spotted, the tornado was about one mile wide, he said.
First spotted about 10:44 p.m. near Covington and Cleburne State Park, around 25 miles south of Fort Worth, the weather service issued an alert. "This is a particularly dangerous situation," it said, per NBC News.
In it's wake, the tornado left semi-trailer trucks overturned, flooded roads, and blew the roof off of several houses, Johnson County Emergency Management reported. In some areas tennis ball-sized hail was reported near Glen Rose and Dinosaur Valley State Park, and soft-ball sized hail damaged vehicles near Stephenville, The Weather Channel reported via NBC News. Crews were scheduled to assess the damage on Monday.
Many roads in southern Johnson County were left impassable and Johnson County Sheriff's Deputy Casey Torrey said deputies were out checking on reported damage.
The monster tornado was part of several severe storms that rampaged across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Sunday night and into Monday morning, leaving damage and power outages in their wake, The Weather Channel reports.
As late as Monday afternoon, survey crews were working to determine the rating of the tornado, but the National Weather Service has confirmed four so far. Three of the tornadoes were confirmed near Rio Vista. All four were given the lowest rating of EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
"A surface low developed just west of the Texas panhandle, pulling warm, most air into much of central and eastern Texas. To the west, very dry air flowed into western Texas," Weather.com meteorologist Chrissy Warrilow told The Weather Channel. "Along this boundary, called a dry line, severe thunderstorms developed that produced large hail and tornadoes from the Abilene area east into the western and southern regions of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex."
Damage caused by the tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex was massive and included toppled semi-trucks and a canopy that had been ripped off an abandoned gas station and blown 50 feet. No injuries have been reported so far, The Weather Channel said.
At least 20 tornado reports came in on Sunday night and Monday morning in Texas, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center. There is the possibility that not all of the tornado reports come from separate tornadoes, and some may actually turn out to be damage from straight-line winds.
The weather reign of terror may not be over yet, and additional severe thunderstorms accompanied by large hail, damaging winds, tornadoes, and flooding rainfall may persist through Tuesday from eastern Texas into the northern Gulf Coast states, The Weather Channel reports.
In Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, heavy winds sent train cars plunging over the Huey P. Long Bridge. Fortunately, the cars carried no hazardous materials and no one was injured, the New Orleans Public Belt said in a statement.
Anyone living in east Texas in the the northern Gulf Coast states can access information about the storms through the Weather Tracker.
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