Groesbeck "lucky" after powerful tornado - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Groesbeck "lucky" after powerful tornado


By Bruce Gietzen

CENTRAL TEXAS - Limestone County emergency management officials will use a DPS helicopter Wednesday morning to survey the area and try to get a better idea of how much damage a tornado caused Tuesday evening.

A series of storm cells spawned tornado winds, with reports of funnel clouds touching down in McLennan County near Texas State Technical College, as well as Groesbeck in Limestone County.

A confirmed tornado apparently skipped through the downtown area of that county seat about 7 PM, ripping roofs off buildings, snapping trees in half and blowing windows out of cars.

One of the steeples at the First Baptist Church was picked up and tossed across the street by the storm.

Limestone County Emergency Management Coordinator Matt Groveton said "It was the most menacing thing I've ever seen, and we were lucky we didn't have a full scale tornado rip through the city, destroying homes".   

Jeanie and Bill Thompson, who have owned The Tire Shop for almost thirty years, were inside that building when the tornado struck.

"I had never seen a tornado and I went to the door to look.  But they came running toward me and pushed me into the office.  Then we heard tap, tap, tap and it tore the roof off," Jeanie Thompson said.

"Some of it is down the street, some of it is out back, some is at City Hall," her husband added, as he looked where his roof used to be.

About 300 people used the County Courthouse as a shelter, after authorities were warned dangerous tornadoes could be headed toward the area.

"It could have been a lot worse.  Four hours earlier more people would have been out and about, and it could have been worse," County Judge Daniel Burkeen said gratefully.  "We'll see how much more damage we have once we get daylight Wednesday." 

The storm knocked out power to much of Groesbeck for part of the evening, and Oncor sent crews from Corsicana to restore electricity to the area.

Amazingly, there were no injuries from the tornado, but one man died from what was being called a "weather-related" accident Tuesday night. 

53-year old John Edward Gorrell crashed on Highway 14 between Thornton and Groesbeck, after his vehicle reportedly hydroplaned off the road.



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