Tornado Strikes San Augustine, See Videos of Storm and Damage
UPDATE (4/25, 9 am):
SH 21 East and US 96 in San Augustine will be closed to traffic immediately as emergency responders work to clear debris and restore power to the area. Traffic will be detoured downtown to SH 147 until further notice. Motorists are advised to stay clear of damaged areas and refrain from stopping and taking photos or videos through the area where workers and equipment are present.
For the second time this month, an East Texas town on Highway 21 was struck by a tornado. Shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday night, the National Weather Service issued a series of tornado warnings that included the city of San Augustine. "A large and extremely dangerous tornado..." was how the meteorologists described the storm when the alert was issued. Just how large and how strong will be determined after the weather service sends a survey crew to the area on Thursday.
Reports of downed trees and damaged homes and businesses were widespread as the tornado seemed to touch down just southwest of the city. Power was knocked out as an electrical substation within the city received heavy damage. San Augustine ISD is closed for the day.
SH 21, SH 147 North, FM 363, FM 2213 and FM 1277 have been reopened at this time. Debris has been moved to allow for traffic. Motorists should stay alert for crews continuing to work through damaged areas. As daylight approaches roads will be inspected for additional debris. Use caution when driving through these areas as weakened trees could continue to fall.
The City of San Augustine issued the following statement through their Facebook page Thursday morning:
San Augustine has major tornado damage, so we have power outages all over town and into the rural areas. The city has more than 30 or 40 power poles that snapped and trees are across many of the roadways. Crews are starting to work to clean up and clear roadways, the work will really not get started in earnest until we have some light so no one will get hurt. Please help by staying home unless you absolutely have to be out tonight in San Augustine. The west side of town was particularly hard-hit, so please stay out of those areas. I will post additional updates as I have new information.
City Hall will effectively be closed today, Thursday 4/25 and possibly Friday as well depending on time for restoration of power. City crews will still be working to clear roads, fix water leaks/help residents with breaks turn off water, and most importantly get the power grid back into operation. We have made arrangements to get contract assistance to aid the City. The Co-op will help too, but they have their own issues right now.
Again, please stay home. Avoid damaged areas, and don't get in the way of repair crews. Don't touch downed lines!
Rusty Nix was doing some work in San Augustine County when the storm hit Wednesday night. He was actually able to take video from his pick up truck as the tornado hit as well as additional videos of the damage immediately after the storm took place. Those can be seen below.