Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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May 17, 2013

Wicked weather wreaks havoc

Tornados, heavy rain and large hail make for a dark, destructive evening across North Texas area

By CHRIS AGEE

An estimated 10 tornados touched down across North Texas Wednesday night with reports of softball-sized hail throughout Palo Pinto County.

At least six people are confirmed dead in Granbury as a result of the most significant twister. Forecasters said Thursday tornados in the same storm system hit Cleburne and Millsap.

Damage in Mineral Wells was significant but not as extensive as in some surrounding communities.

According to a Mineral Wells police spokesperson, officers responded to a number of minor accidents and damaged power lines, though the aftermath is less severe than the last major hailstorm about five years ago.

However, businesses in the downtown area lost their roofs to the huge hailstones.

Mineral Wells Fire/EMS reports indicate three power lines were knocked down within about a 10-minute period near 6:30 p.m.

Numerous police and city vehicles were damaged and cars throughout the city now bear broken windshields, deep dents and other evidence of the storm.

A Walmart associate confirmed the retailer was closed between 8 p.m. Wednesday and 10:30 a.m. Thursday to clean up water and debris caused when hail damaged a number of skylights.

“It was a mess,” said Jim Vines, who said he was caught – along with a number of young Pitch, Hit and Run participants – outside during the height of the devastating weather.

“We met at the city park to get a picture taken,” he said. “Everybody was showing up when this hail hit.”

Though the group photograph was cancelled, he said, the young athletes left with lasting memories, nonetheless.

The group quickly sought shelter and waited out the storm, he explained, adding they emerged to find significant property damage.

“We got underneath the gazebo there and we were confined to that space,” Vines recalled. “There was a lady [with a] brand new, five-day-old Cadillac who lost her windshield, back window, and sunroof.”

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