Texas Storms Damage Dozens Of Homes, Black Out Thousands Of Customers

Saturday, March 31st 2007, 2:05 pm
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ Thunderstorms hammered parts of Texas early Saturday, blacking out thousands of customers and spinning out tornadoes.

The same group of storms sent a twister through a small town west of Waco late Friday and caused flooding that forced some 40 people from their homes.

The violent weather had largely eased by Saturday afternoon and the bulk of the storms had moved into Louisiana and Arkansas.

One tornado struck early Saturday in Lavaca County, which is between Houston and San Antonio, destroying a mobile home and sending its four residents to a hospital, said sheriff's dispatcher Gina Dvorka. A hospital spokeswoman said the residents were in stable condition. Other mobile homes and outbuildings in the area were damaged, Dvorka said.

About 66,000 Centerpoint Energy customers lost power early Saturday in the Houston area. Texas-New Mexico Power, an electricity distributor for several retailers, reported scattered outages throughout the Gulf Coast region, with the biggest briefly affecting 18,000 customers in Alvin, southeast of Houston.

The thunderstorms delayed the start of Saturday's third round of the Houston Open golf tournament.

Late Friday, tornadoes hit two communities near Waco and in Lavaca County, and straight-line wind or a tornado tore through a residential area of Wylie.

``We're lucky,'' Kim Ray, an administrative assistant for the McGregor Police Department, said Saturday. A tornado hit the small town west of Waco on Friday, causing extensive damage, but no injuries were reported.

About 40 people had to be evacuated from their homes in Haltom City, just north of Fort Worth, because of flooding on Big Fossil Creek.

Some Haltom City rescuers had to be rescued themselves. Three of them were trying to reached a handicapped woman when strong current swamped their boat and they had to cling to trees, said Deputy Chief Wes Rhodes. A backup team sent to their aid had to climb on top of cars, and finally teams from Fort Worth and Hurst came in with hovercraft and rescued the rescuers, he said.

Lancaster, in southern Dallas County, recorded 10 inches of rain over a two-to-three day period, the weather service said.