Texas Storms Unleash Tornadoes, Softball-Sized Hail

Three tornadoes spun from storm

By Frank Heinz
|  Thursday, May 15, 2014  |  Updated 8:03 AM PDT
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Tornado Rips Through Collin County

Tom Fox/Dallas Morning News

Photo of lightning striking in the area of AT&T Stadium on April 3, 2014. Powerful thunderstorms created rain, hail, lightning, and may have spawned four tornadoes just one day before the Final Four in Arlington.

Severe thunderstorms are believed to have spawned three tornadoes in North Texas Thursday, while peppering Denton and Collin counties with hail as large as softballs.

The National Weather Service confirmed the following information from last Thursday's storm.

  • Tornado (EF0 — wind up to 85 mph) — Princeton (Collin County) with an estimated peak winds of 85 mph.  The tornado width was about 40 yards with a length of 1.2 miles.
  • Tornado (EF1 — wind up to 110 mph) — Near Merit/Greenville (Hunt County) with an estimated peak wind of 110 mph. The tornado width was 750 yards with a length of 11.1 miles. Four people were injured  during this event.
  • Tornado (EF1 — wind up to 110 mph) — Near Tira (Hopkins County) with an estimated peak wind of 105 mph. The tornado width was 250 yards with a length of a half-mile.
  • Hail — Denton    4.25"
  • Hail — 2 North of Denton 2.75"
  • Hail — Aubrey    2.75"
  • Hail — Frisco    2"
  • Hail — 3 NW McKinney    2"
  • Hail — Allen    2"
  • Wind Gust — Denton Municipal Airport — 82 mph

The Hunt County Sheriff's Office confirms four people were hurt as a result of Thursday night's severe weather, though no updates have been given on the severity of the injuries. There were no fatalities reported.

The Denton County Sheriff's Office and National Weather Service retracted a previous report that the storm spawned a tornado that touched down near Krum. As the first wave of the storm passed through Denton County, the Denton Municipal Airport recorded gusts of 82 mph; that wind speed is equivalent to an EF-0 tornado.

There have been widespread and varying reports of damage including utility poles toppled, tree limbs downed and fences leveled. There have been reports of homes and roofs being damaged by the storms, including two homes that are "gone" in Hunt County.

Throughout the evening NBC 5 storm spotters reported hail ranging in size from quarter-sized to softball-sized, including some that shattered car windows in Denton.

The National Weather Service reports hail of 3 1/2-inch diameters and larger fell along U.S. 380 north of downtown Denton around 4 p.m. Denton city spokeswoman Lindsay Baker said reports of broken windows and windshields and other hail damage were widespread. (Photos are available in the slideshows above.)

Oncor reports less than 600 storm-related outages across the Metroplex as of 5 a.m. Friday.

All weather warnings issued were allowed to expire at 9 p.m. Thursday except for a small tornado warning near eastern Hunt County and western Delta County that expired at 9:15 p.m. The tornado watch across North Texas expired for most of the Metroplex at 9 p.m., though it was extended until 4 a.m. Friday for some of the eastern counties and East Texas.

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