2 dead, 7 injured in Texas tornado-warned storm
Two construction workers were killed and at least eight others injured when a tornado-warned storm struck the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas, Tuesday afternoon.
All nine workers were on site in the new Ladera Creek subdivision when one of the houses under construction suddenly collapsed shortly before 4 p.m. CDT due to the high winds from the intense storm, Conroe Assistant Fire Chief Mike Legoudes told KTRK-TV in Houston. Conroe is about 40 miles north of the Houston metro area in Montgomery County.
Two of the workers were pronounced dead at the scene. Seven others who were also working on the structure were injured and taken to the hospital, Legoudes said. The severity of their injuries was not known. Further information has not been released about the victims.
Severe thunderstorms, including one capable of producing a tornado, moved through the area around from 2:35 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. CDT, according to the National Weather Service.
"The storm came and went pretty quickly -- it was about 10 minutes total," Legoudes said. "There was a lot of wind, a lot of rain with a bit of sleet and hail."
Several residents even said they observed a tornado touch down in the Conroe-Huntsville area.
"There is a tornado in our area right now. One has touched down in Huntsville and Conroe is under a tornado warning," Congressman Morgan Luttrell, whose district includes Conroe, posted on Facebook as the powerful storm was getting underway. "Hoping everyone stays safe and this passes quickly."
A resident of the Conroe, Texas, area captured this photo of a possible tornado in the area of Willis, between Conroe and Huntsville, Texas, on May 23, 2023. (Charlie Thompson)
The NWS Houston office said preliminary findings from a storm survey conducted Wednesday in both Montgomery and Walker counties determined that the storm damage was caused by "straight line winds, and no evidence of tornado touchdowns were found." The NWS added, however, that it was still gathering data from the severe storm, which saw estimated peak winds of 60 to 80 mph.
Local media reported at least one person was injured when part of the roof collapsed at an auto body shop in Huntsville, Walker County. Damaging winds also blew down trees, including a large one that fell on an apartment building in Huntsville, according to photos posted to social media.
Walker County Emergency Management told KTRK that about 20 homes in the Forest Hills neighborhood also sustained storm damage.
Just before 4 p.m., Huntsville Independent School said that it was keeping students at the transportation department offices due to the extensive storm damage in a number of neighborhoods.
Texas leads the nation in the number of severe weather reports at 992 so far in 2023, according to the Storm Prediction Center. The tally includes 42 preliminary tornado reports, 552 large hail reports, and 398 wind reports. The number of tornadoes in the Lone Star State ranks fifth compared to other states with Illinois seeing the most reports at 94, Alabama coming in second with 80 reports, followed by 56 reports in Iowa, and 51 reports in Nebraska.
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