23 people hurt in Bell County after tornado touches down
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - Tornadoes touched down earlier this week in northwest Williamson County sweeping into Bell County.
FOX 7 Austin's Zack Shields says the path started north of Florence and then it ended up finishing over a lake no less north of Salado.
According to Bell County Judge David Blackburn, many structures in Salado were destroyed. At least 23 people were hurt and at least 12 of them were taken to the hospital. At least one person was in critical condition, says FOX Weather. No one has been reported missing in relation to the severe weather.
The tornadoes destructive path started near Florence and traveled northeast about 11 miles towards Salado. It crossed into more than 100 different properties.
On Wednesday, people in southern Bell County were left with destroyed homes, uprooted trees, and mounds of debris.
"No pictures can tell you what it looks like it’s just devastating," said pastor Billy Borho with Victory Baptist church.
The church is now leveled.
"We are crushed with what we see, but God has given us the strength. I looked in the Bible, and it doesn’t say anywhere I quit, so I’m going to keep on and build the church back."
His building is included in the dozens of others damaged by the storm.
Cleanup is expected to take several days with no word on when power will be restored. In the meantime, officials ask everyone to stay away from the area.
"There is lots of brush. Not only is it dangerous to travel on that road right now because of all that heavy moving equipment getting debris on the road way it slows down recovery efforts," said Judge Blackburn.
Despite the extensive damage, community members like Borho have stayed positive and are ready to rebuild.
"I’m not going to quit, we are not going to quit. We are going to go on," said Borho.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) says field response personnel are on the ground supporting local officials in impacted communities.
TDEM is also encouraging those with damaged homes or businesses due to the severe weather to submit an online damage assessment survey using the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT).
Viewers sent in video of tornadoes in Bell County, including this video from Steven Diechmann which shows a tornado rotating in the sky near Salado. The video shows a fairly clear funnel between the dark clouds and the ground.
Diechmann also sent in video of damage in the Hidden Springs subdivision near Salado. Tree limbs, branches and debris are scattered everywhere. The video also appears to show two structures that sustained damage from the tornado.
Tom Madden sent in this video near Salado which shows a tornado off in the distance stretching from the dark clouds in the sky to the ground and trees below.
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