The east Texas town of Lindale was struck by a devastating tornado that damaged nearly 50 homes Saturday afternoon. No injuries have been reported thus far.
Weather experts have not yet determined the full strength of the storm that struck the city Saturday afternoon. Emergency workers say calls started coming in around 3:20 p.m. reporting two funnel clouds spotted over Lindale, about 90 miles southeast of Dallas.
A witness shot video of the unusual December tornado yesterday afternoon.
After an initial inspection of the damage, Lindale mayor Robert Nelson issued a disaster declaration for the area. According to Nelson, about six to eight homes are severely damaged, while 30 to 35 sustained limited damage.
Lindale resident, Gage Goodson, said there was no indication that a twister was about to hit.
“My first thought wasn’t tornado, because there was no warning or anything. It just came down in a ton of rain, and all of a sudden, the roof just lifted it. I didn’t hear anything. It just sounded like really hard rain, then all of a sudden, it sound like two trains collided.”
Cameron Burgess, another eyewitness, said he was just as surprised about the east Texas tornado. “Apparently, they said there was no warning. It just touched down right here,” he told the Tyler Morning Telegraph after looking over his property.
As many streets are impassable, residents affected by the cyclone are asked to report to the command center at the Lindale Fire Department before trying to get to their homes. The mayor has requested that residents not affected remain clear of the damaged area until further notice.
Shortly after the storm, the American Red Cross began to evaluate the damage and organize volunteers. Two emergency shelters have been set up, one at the First Methodist Church and another at the Red Springs Fire Department.
Numerous calls have been made to the mayor’s office, asking how to help. Many Lindale residents have been donating food and other supplies to the shelters.
This is a photo of tornado damage from The Eagles Peak area in North Lindale. pic.twitter.com/YU5ZI9rLAb— Brittni Thomason (@BrittniThomason) December 12, 2015
Another east Texas tornado was reported yesterday near the town of Willis. Mother Nature damaged several trailer homes and two local businesses. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries from this windstorm, either.
Since the twisters touched down, forecasters say the storm system has calmed down. Nonetheless, the threat of more tornadoes and severe weather remains through Sunday for parts of Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Roy Lucksinger, a meteorologist with the Weather Channel, predicts strong winds and the possibility of more cyclones.
“The system is losing some of its punch on its southern end — the main upper level system is pulling up in the Great Plains. It’s still unstable near the Gulf Coast… We will still have spotted wind damage and can’t rule out an isolated tornado.”
According to a related Inquisitr report, spring forecast models predicted an average tornado season for 2015. However, the model did calculate states like Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma would have a higher number than usual.
Still, winter tornadoes like the ones that struck Texas yesterday are very uncommon.
According to International Science Times, one of the deadliest winter tornado outbreaks occurred in February, 2008. About 87 tornadoes struck several southern U.S. states and the Ohio Valley over 15 hours on February 5 and 6.
Densely populated areas of Memphis, Jackson, and Nashville, Tennessee were particularly devastated by the outbreak. Overall, estimated damage reached into the billions and 57 people were killed.
Although the tornadoes that struck east Texas were not as devastating, the storm that spawned them continues to move northeast. While other states prepare for the arrival of severe weather, parts of Lindale are still without power, and recovery efforts are expected to continue over the next few months.
[Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images]