Tornadoes reported in western Texas, southern Michigan

Wednesday, April 9th 2008, 10:07 pm
By: News 9

BRECKENRIDGE, Texas (AP) -- Powerful storms including apparent tornadoes moved through parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Wednesday, destroying several homes, knocking out power for many, and causing some injuries and at least one death.

In Breckenridge, 125 miles west of Dallas, at least five homes were destroyed and there were reports of minor injuries, police said.

Crews with Oncor Electric Delivery were arriving in Breckenridge to survey the extent of the damage. Several poles were down and most of the city appeared to be without power, said Oncor spokesman Neal Blanton.

Robbie Dewberry, an administrator at Stephens Memorial Hospital, said the hospital treated three people for storm-related injuries. He said the hospital was on emergency backup power.

Dallas-Fort Worth television KTVT showed footage of damage at the small airport in the town. A twin-engine plane sat amid the crumpled sheet metal that had been a hangar.

Several outbuildings were also damaged, but officials could not immediately confirm that the damage was caused by a tornado, said Jessica Schultz of the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

Earlier Wednesday, storm chasers reported that a tornado briefly skipped twice on Interstate 20 west of Abilene, said Mary Keiser of the NWS in San Angelo.

The accompanying thunderstorm sent hail -- some chunks up to the size of a baseball -- pounding down in several counties around the Abilene area, Keiser said.

Officials in Palo Pinto County said roofs had been blown off a few homes and trees were down in Oran, about 80 miles west of Dallas. The storm moved north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area Wednesday night.

In Oklahoma, National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Taylor in Norman said there had been two reports of a tornado in Choctaw County in the southeastern part of the state, although no damage was reported. Taylor said the reports could have been tied to the same tornado.

A woman was killed when her vehicle skidded off a highway and struck a pole and tree in Caddo County during heavy rain, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

Flooding caused the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to close five highways in the state, and the National Weather Service issued flood warnings for several eastern Oklahoma waterways.

Meanwhile, a small tornado caused scattered damage in southwest Michigan, authorities said.

No injuries were reported but authorities say several horses were trapped inside a barn that was damaged by the stormy weather early Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said one of its investigators went to the area and determined that the damage was caused by a small twister.

Consumers Energy said more than 6,500 customers lost power, primarily in Kent and Muskegon counties. The company expected to fully restore service by the end of the day.

The weather service also warned of strong thunderstorms Wednesday in parts of Oklahoma.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)