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Home News-Telegram News Twisters dance around Sulphur Springs; hail, high winds pummel county

Twisters dance around Sulphur Springs; hail, high winds pummel county

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Scant hours after as many as a dozen tornadoes touched down across Dallas and Fort Worth, warning sirens began sounding in Cumby as the storm front moved into Hopkins County. Minutes later, the sirens began sounding in Sulphur Springs.

Tornado warnings issued by the National Weather Service were extended several times before finally expiring around 8 p.m. Tuesday. Despite several sightings of funnel clouds and possible tornadoes, there were no reports of damage from twisters.

As the storm moved in, the city's emergency operations center was activated and warning sirens sounded almost continuously for about three hours

A tornado was reported on the ground between Lone Oak and Campbell just after 3 p.m. In Cumby, warning sirens sounded and police officers drove through neighborhoods using the public address systems in patrol cars to notify residents of the dangerous situation. Cumby schools went on immediate lock-down for the protection of the students.

As storm spotters spread across the county, a possible tornado was reported at 3:23 p.m. just south of Interstate 30 at FM 1567 west.

Dispatchers at the sheriff's department and police department received calls reporting a tornado in the area of State Highway 19 north and Loop 301. Minutes later, heavy hail, golf ball size and larger, was reported in Birthright, as well as the Tira and Sulphur Bluff areas.

A funnel cloud, possibly a tornado, was spotted briefly near FM 3389 and FM 1170 about 4:40 p.m.

After a brief respite from the storms, a second round moved into the county just after 5 p.m., and sirens again were sounding continuously after a report of a tornado being sighted about four miles south of the city near SH 19.

Possible tornado rotation was reported in a storm cell moving into the Como area just before 5 p.m.

Along with the potential for tornadoes, the storms brought strong straight-line winds to the area that blew a number of trees down, and there were numerous reports of power lines being down both in the city and county.

As the storms blew through Sulphur Springs, schools were locked down. Many students were unable to leave until about 4:30 p.m.

At Hopkins County Courthouse, employees and visitors were sent to the basement, and about 4:30 p.m., County Judge Chris Brown closed the courthouse.

Some businesses offered customers shelter. In one case, a man reported he was being held against his will at Wal-Mart when store officials tried to prevent the man from going out into the storm.

Other businesses reduced staff to one or two people and remained open while the storms blew through.

By the time the storm system moved out of the county, almost all areas reported at least some hail, ranging from pea to marble size, with heavier hail up to the size of a golf ball and larger, reported around Birthright and into the Sulphur Bluff and Tira areas.

Along with the potential for tornadoes, the storms brought heavy rainfall that resulted in high water at the usual locations in Sulphur Springs and brought reports of water on Interstate 30, just west of SH 19.

Official rainfall reports indicated almost two inches of rain fell in a  relatively brief period of time.

Weather forecasts hold a 30 percent chance of showers and thundershowers for tonight. The next chance of rain, a 20 percent chance, comes Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Meteorologists said the storms were the result of a slow-moving storm system centered over northern New Mexico.




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