Storms Spawn Tornadoes across Texas Panhandle

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - At least three people were injured in the Texas Panhandle as storms that brought winds up to 70 mph, hail and rain, spawned several tornadoes.

National Weather Service officials in the Panhandle said numerous tornadoes touched down Wednesday night. While many of the tornadoes were in areas so rural that no damage was reported, others caused damage to homes, downed power lines and uprooted trees. Survey teams were set to go out Thursday to get an official count on the number of tornadoes.

The storm system extended from the Panhandle to south of the Midland-Odessa area in West Texas.

Up to baseball-sized hail and heavy rains hit Hemphill County, said Jose Garcia, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Amarillo.

Two homes were damaged in rural Hemphill County, two trucks were turned over and some work trailers on oilfields were blown around, said sheriff's office dispatcher Ronnie Moore.

A person in one of the oilfield trailers about 13 miles southwest of Canadian was injured and was taken to the hospital, said Moore, who did not have any details on the injury.

Also near there, two big rigs were blown over on highway 60, but there were no reported injuries, he said.

But two people were injured when three tractor-trailers got wrapped together by a possible tornado on Interstate 40 near Groom, said Barbie Reid, communications operator for Texas Department of Public Safety in Childress. Both were taken to an Amarillo hospital.

She said that about five homes were damaged in the town of McLean, located just off Interstate 40 in the Panhandle.

A tornado that went through Caprock Canyons State Park was on the ground for about 20 minutes, said Justin Weaver, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Lubbock.

At least three homes were evacuated as a precaution as a creek continued to rise in the small town of Darrouzett in Lipscomb County in the far northeastern corner of the Panhandle, said sheriff's office dispatcher Jay Johnston.

Authorities in Oklahoma said that two people were killed in Beaver County in a possible tornado in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)