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Tornado outbreak leaves its mark on region

Northeast Texans were sent ducking for cover on numerous occasions as severe weather erupted Tuesday afternoon, producing an unconfirmed 12 tornadoes.

Multiple media outlets in the Dallas-Fort Worth region reported damage from tractor-trailers thrown through the air and to a Forney elementary school and high school. Airline traffic was shut down at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Storms proceeded to wreak havoc on counties to the northeast of the Metorplex, forcing area hospitals, school districts and Texas A&M University-Commerce to shut down operations and move students to a safe area inside.

A&M-Commerce student Adam Sparks was inside the Sam Rayburn Student Center when Hunt County was placed under a tornado warning.

“Just to take extra precaution, the university is doing similar to what the schools and Dallas and Fort Worth were doing today with all the warnings over there. Right now the university seems to be in a lockdown,” Sparks said.

Richard Hill with the Hunt County Office of Homeland Security says a tornado appeared to have damaged two homes near the county line along Highway 276 in the Munson Community, with numerous other homes damaged in Rockwall County. One home along FM 1565 near Union Valley lost its roof.

“We really dodged a bullet in the Commerce area. Really,” Hill said.

Crews throughout the region were conducting damage assessments late Tuesday afternoon and expected to uncover more damage upon first light Wednesday morning.

There had not been any reports of significant injuries as of early Tuesday evening.

Large amounts of hail were associated with the storms, with reports of up to golf ball size in some instances.

Callers to KETR reported various instances of severe activity, and were quick to inform listeners when the storms had passed through their region.

Klondike resident Eunice Mauldin reported during a live report, “This wall cloud you were all talking about passing over is very low rotation in a lot of different spots.”

This Lamar County caller stated how the rain was so heavy that visibility was limited to no more than a few feet outdoors.

“We had one of the adults supervising through the back window. And she said when it [the storm] came through at one point, our swimming pool – which is one of those above ground sitting about 20 feet from our house – she could not even see the swimming pool. It was so thick. You couldn’t see the trees. You couldn’t see anything.”

A&M-Commerce Emergency Management Coordinator Derek Preas credited the campus community with their quick and safe response to the storms.

“At least over here at the Business Administration Building I witnessed firsthand how well our students were paying attention and watching, so for those students listening I greatly appreciate it,” Preas said.

Oncor on Wednesday morning reported nearly 14,000 homes and businesses without electricity.

Send your storm photos to scott@ketr.org. And stay with KETR for the latest in severe weather coverage all season long.