GRANBURY — A tornado ripped through a picturesque lakeside North Texas town on Wednesday, resulting in multiple fatalities and destroying or damaging homes, authorities said.
The tornado ripped through the Brazos River courthouse town of Granbury about 8 p.m. as part of a outbreak of severe weather that plagued the region Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Hardest hit were two neighborhoods, Rancho Brazos Estates and DeCordova Ranch, in the southern end of the town of about 8,000 residents about 65 miles southwest of Dallas, said Hood County sheriff's Lt. Kathy Jiveden.
There were multiple fatalities, she said, but she had no estimate of dead or injured or the number of homes destroyed.
Officers “are going house to house” looking for residents trapped, injured or dead in the rubble of demolished homes near Lake Granbury, Jiveden said.
Rancho Brazos Estates resident Allacia Jenny said she witnessed devastation in her neighborhood.
“The house across from mine looked like it was destroyed,” said Jenny, 22.
Toppled large trees litter her yard, and “I saw power lines all over the place,” she said.
The tornado was part of a system of severe thunderstorms that spawned several tornadoes across North and Central Texas, dropping large hail in some areas, including Hamilton and northwestern Coryell County, which saw baseball-size hail and tornado warnings throughout the evening.
At Stumpy's Lakeside Grill in Lake Granbury, the storm took diners and workers by surprise. Some people rushed inside from the patio and ducked under tables as the wind gusts and hail started, but nobody was injured, said Eric Martinez, a cook. Then they looked across the lake and saw several homeowners’ boat docks “just get torn apart,” he said.
“The boat docks just flew off, and they're actually gone,” Martinez said, adding that the boards and other debris landed in some yards.
The restaurant didn't appear to sustain any damage, but cars in the parking lot had dents from the large hail, he said.
Donna Martin, the bartender at the VFW in Granbury, said she was watching the clouds circulate in the sky when tornado sirens went off. She said softball-size hail also pounded the area.
Another tornado hit the small town of Millsap, about 40 miles west of Fort Worth. Parker County Judge Mark Kelley said roof damage was reported to several houses and a barn was destroyed, but no injuries were reported.
Hail as large as grapefruit also pelted the area around Mineral Wells on Wednesday evening. A police dispatcher reported only minor damage.