Central Texas severe weather: Tornadoes, hail in Bell, Williamson Counties

Most of Central Texas stayed dry, but some areas were hit by severe storms. The lid on the atmosphere stayed put in the Austin area and prevented storms from hitting, but the lid did lift in other areas and tornadoes touched down in Williamson County and in Bell County.

The National Weather Service says the path of the storm started north of Florence, which is right on the edge of NW Williamson County and then it ended up in Bell County and finished over a lake 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. Blackburn also said that today's priorities will be to continue to search affected areas, removal of debris, and restoration of power. He said it could take several days for power to be restored for some. He added they believe they have all people accounted for.

Bell County officials are receiving help from other counties as well as the Texas Department of Emergency Management as cleanup gets underway. Last night, emergency officials went through debris and buildings to find any survivors.

In Florence in Williamson County, a tornado damaged buildings and tossed debris across several neighborhoods. There was no official word on any injuries.

The National Weather Service is expected to be in both Williamson and Bell Counties to survey the damage. FOX 7 Austin meteorologist Zack Shields says it's possible the tornadoes were stronger than the ones that hit Central Texas in March

The storms did not bring a lot of rain but many areas saw some large hail. The Salado area saw tennis to softball-sized hail. Ping pong-sized hail fell in Briggs while Liberty Hill saw dime-sized hail in some parts.

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