CROCKETT, Texas — Folks in the town of Crockett are dealing with the damage from a tornado and severe thunderstorms between Monday night and early Tuesday morning.
Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service confirmed an EF-2 tornado touched down in the east Houston County community, about 115 miles northeast of Houston.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed 10 people were injured, at least one severe, in the Crockett area, according to an early assessment. Thirty structures, including 20 to 25 homes were damaged. Dozens of residents had to seek shelter elsewhere due to the damage.
As the sun rose Tuesday, the extent of the damage was more clear. Air 11 flew over Crockett and saw homes and businesses destroyed, smashed vehicles, an overturned 18-wheeler, a boat lifted to dry land, uprooted trees and debris everywhere.
A team sent to assess the damage Tuesday confirmed the EF-2 tornado that barreled through Crockett.
Jeff Evans said they look at the radar and the damage to determine the strength of a tornado.
"Some of it is the environment and looking at the radar, but when you come out here you can see the way the damage is laying," Evans said. "A tornado is like a giant straw, it sucks things in, so the damage tends to fall inward toward the path, so that's one big key. With straight lines, they kinda lay down flat and maybe diverge a little bit."
One resident put it in perspective.
"But at the end of the day, if we can sit here and stand here and talk to you, we're extremely blessed," Ansel Bradshaw said.
The Crockett Civic Center is being used as an emergency shelter for residents that have lost their homes or had them damaged. Leaders at the center told KHOU 11 that there were about 60 people there, but several more have shown up.
Downed power lines have blocked roads and left thousands of people without power. They're also making it difficult for emergency crews to check homes for injuries.
Cell phone service has also been down for a lot of people.
Emergency services have been stretched thin. KHOU 11 reporter Matt Dougherty has tried to reach out to local police and the sheriff's office multiple times but they are overwhelmed.