NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Severe weather moved through North Texas early Tuesday morning, leaving behind a path of damage from heavy rain, lightning and fierce winds.
Tractor trailer drivers were challenged by the high winds, that also took a toll on trees and power lines. Wind gusts near 60 mph contributed to big rig crashes in Dallas and Denton County.
In Lewisville, the driver of a semi wound up in need of rescue as the storms blew through the area. Gary Jenkins had just dropped off a load a couple miles away from FM 3040 and Business 121. He had parked his empty truck, went inside a store to get something to eat, and was back sitting inside his truck when things got dicey. A gust of wind blew through and toppled the big rig over on its side.
“It was a nice little ride,” Jenkins said smiling. Initially the driver said he was a little dazed. “I started looking for my shoes and stuff like that, to try and get out. But the fire department came and helped me out fo the truck and everything.”
Jenkins has been driving 18-wheelers for decades, but said he had just gotten to town and didn’t know severe weather was expected. He had a few cuts and scrapes on his arms but wasn’t seriously injured. The shaken driver said in all his years of experience on the road this was a unique experience. “But I’ve never lost a rig… 41 years of driving and I’ve never had this happen. This is the first time.”
In Hickory Creek, near Corinth and Lake Dallas, high winds caused serious damage to a car wash not far from I-35E. A portion of a wall and the roof at the Master Shine Car Wash was blown off. Meteorologists have made no confirmations, but straight-line winds may have torn off the pieces of the structure, leaving them bent and twisted several feet from the building. With the wall opened and exposed, pieces of insulation left yellow debris caught and scattered through a chain-link fence.
The manager of the car wash said no employees or customers were at the business when the damage happened.
Two officers with the Corinth Police Department were only a few yards from the car wash when it blew apart. They immediately got firefighters to the scene, who as a safety precaution turned off gas and electricity in the area.
To the southwest there were reports of storm damage across Tarrant County. In Weatherford gusty winds and heavy rain blew off the roof of a gun shop. Nearby there was a power line and wires down. Crews from the electric company were on the scene.
In the Camp Bowie area of Fort Worth, a huge tree was uprooted and left lying in the road. The tree fell off of Westridge Avenue, near Interstate-30. Winds in the area also brought down fences and at least one power line. Most of the damage is believed to have happened after 3:30 a.m. when tornado sirens sounded in parts of Fort Worth. It’s not clear yet whether a tornado actually touched down.
There was also damage to homes and businesses in north Fort Worth, along White Settlement Road toward Samuels Boulevard. Before sunrise a steeple was torn off and lay on the ground outside the Samuels Avenue Baptist Church and there were downed power lines in the area.
There were about 35 people inside the Fort Worth Teen Challenge Ministry on Samuels Avenue when severe weather bore down. Those inside the building said they heard tornado sirens and immediately headed to the kitchen to ride out the storm in between their freezers.
No one inside the building was injured, but trees littered the parking lot and a ministry van was damaged. Renee Thomas says having the vehicle out of service will negatively impact the program. “That does affect,” Thomas aid explain that the van is how, “…we take ladies to appointments, we take ladies to GED [classes], and to pick up groceries. That [damage] will affect us today definitely.”
According to their website the Christian ministry helps women over the age of 18 who are dealing with life controlling problems like drug and alcohol abuse, physical and sexual abuse, fear and depression.
In Dallas, downed trees and power lines knocked out power to thousands and a number of traffic signals out. Police closed Polk Street, at Illinois, in Oak Cliff as Oncor crews worked on a broken power cable.
At the height of the storms officials with Oncor Electric Delivery said there were more than 35,000 customers without electricity as a result of more than 440 separate power outages. As of 9:30 a.m. there were still some 23,000 customers, in seven North Texas counties, who were without power.
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