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EF-3 Tornado Strikes Cleburne

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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CLEBURNE (CBSDFW.COM) - In Johnson County the tornado that touched down in Cleburne has been given a preliminary EF-3 rating. Weather investigators say the most significant damage was just east of Lake Pat Cleburne.

“The pressure dropped and you could feel it in your ears and that’s when we went into the closet,” according to Scott Harrison whose house was hit.

Cleburne’s EF-3 tornado had wind speeds between 136 mph and 165 mph.

Click For Comprehensive Coverage of the May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

The tornado that hit Harrison’s house picked up momentum as it crossed the lake.  With just seconds to act, Harrison, his wife and two grown sons ran through the bedroom and barricaded themselves in this bathroom closet.

“About 30 seconds later you could hear the roof being ripped off.  And then, it lasted about 30 seconds or 45 seconds but it seemed a lot longer, and then it stopped.  And about a minute later another one came through,” said Harrison.

Almost every room of Harris’ house is gone. Massive ceiling beams snapped and crushed everything beneath them.

The EF rating determines the strength of a tornado by assessing damage caused.  Wind speeds and the EF-rating are determined from the amount of damage caused. The highest rating on the EF scale is an EF-5.

How can a man can smile after experiencing the terror of and EF-3 tornado, which destroyed his house? For Harris, the fact that the most important part of his home at the time — the closet — was left unscathed… is reason enough.

“Well, there’s not much else you can do, right? As long as everybody is ok, that’s what’s important,” says Harris.

Six hundred homes were damaged in Cleburne and 9 people suffered minor injuries.

At this time, officials are determining ratings and confirmations of other tornadoes.

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