JARRELL, Texas - In Jarrell Tuesday, people were assessing the damage and beginning the cleanup process after a confirmed tornado swept through Monday night. It caused major damage to homes, knocked out power and led to crashes along I-35.
Williamson County Judge declared a state of disaster due to the tornado damage, but, so far, officials report no deaths and only minor injuries.
"At this point we can confirm there was a tornado last night in Jarrell," said Jason Runyan, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service, who surveyed the damage Tuesday morning.
Some of the worst damage was at Jarrell’s fire station, where firefighters spent the day patching up the roof where a section was blown off. Five garage doors were also damaged. The tornado came through as crews were being dispatched to a call.
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"They came out and raised the garage doors. And the crew member reported to me that all the doors stuck inward, and then five and the six just fell to the ground and then got blown. In the direction that the wind was blowing," said Chief Ron Stewart, with Williamson County ESD #5.
None of the firefighters or medics were hurt, and crews carried on as best they could.
"Even with all of that damage, they were jumping in their fire trucks, they were jumping in the ambulance, and they were rolling to calls," said Gravell.
One of those calls was to a semi-truck that overturned on I-35 and ended up in a ditch, along with several other vehicles.
"That was very consistent with the path the tornado went through, and unfortunately for that truck driver, he just drove into a tornado," said Gravell.
The driver escaped with only minor injuries.
An 18-wheeler was flipped due to high winds and a tornado in Jarrell late Monday night.
The tornado also knocked out power to thousands, delaying school in Jarrell and other communities—with debris blocking bus routes, and some schools in the dark until mid-morning.
"There were power lines down in the road as well as trees," said Jarrell ISD Superintendent Toni Hicks. "By having that two-hour delay, we ensured that kids could arrive safely to school."
As night fell, officials urged drivers to steer clear of line crews still working to restore power.
"Remember electricity kills you, and if there is a power line down please turn around and walk away and call 911," said Gravell.