A one-two punch of strong to severe storms overnight left the streets of Paris littered with debris this morning. The storm’s strong winds knocked over Texas Department of Transportation signs along Southeast Loop 286, and power company linemen remained hard at work after dawn restoring power throughout town.
Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley at 6:30 a.m. said there were no local reports of injuries, though he was aware of several homes hit by downed tree limbs.
“We still have streets closed or hard to navigate due to downed trees,” he said, estimating about 85 structures still did not have power.
Winds in one of the two storms were strong enough to peel the tin roof up on Noyes Stadium at Paris Junior College. Also among the reported damages was a roof blown off a structure in the 100 block of 12 Street NW, as well as roof damage in the 200 block of Hearne Avenue, Hundley said. A house fire was ignited by a lightning strike in the 1500 block of Margaret Street and residences were damaged in the 2100 block of West Kaufman Street and 800 Church Street, according to the police chief.
The National Weather Service reported gusts as fast as 47 mph in the first storm that dumped more than an inch of rain. The second storm passed through after midnight and because NWS records are created daily, reports of damaging wind and rain totals were not available by press time.
Still, the Red River Valley fared better than other parts of North and Central Texas. NWS confirmed a tornado touched down in Dallas, causing structural damage and knocking out electricity to thousands.
Meteorologist Jason Godwin said radar confirmed the twister hit the ground near Love Field Airport and moved northeast through the city, at around 9 p.m. There were no reports of fatalities or serious injuries as of 12:20 a.m., according to a release from the city of Dallas, but Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said three people were hospitalized for evaluation of non-life-threatening injuries.
Godwin said the size and severity of the tornado won’t be known until crews arrive to survey the damage. NWS warning coordination meteorologist Jennifer Dunn told the Associated Press there may have been two or more tornadoes in north Texas, but reiterated that the extent wouldn’t be known until later this afternoon, after survey teams assess the damage.
Local media outlets reported several homes and businesses were damaged, power lines downed and tree limbs were scattered across roadways. The city said there were reports of gas leaks north of Walnut Hill. Most of the damage within Dallas was limited to the northwest, with Evans defining the area as bordered by Royal Lane to the north and Northwest Highway to the south, as well as Harry Hines Boulevard to the west and Interstate 75 to the east.
North of Dallas, the city of Richardson said in a release that thoroughfares “used by thousands of morning commuters” will be closed while workers clear debris and repair downed traffic lights. No injuries in the affluent suburb were reported, but more than 7,000 Oncor customers within Richardson lost power, including some school campuses.
The city of Sachse, a northeast suburb of Dallas, said in a release that six houses “sustained significant high-wind damage after severe weather moved through the area Sunday night.” Four homes were left uninhabitable, but no injuries had been reported.
Thousands of Parisians also were without power after the first of two storms pushed through around 10:30 p.m. Although power was restored to several areas shortly after the second storm rolled through around 1:30 a.m., more than 50 outages remained after 6 a.m., according to Oncor’s outage map. Lamar Electric Cooperative reported overnight outages affecting Bagwell, Pine Branch, Fulbright, Lone Star, Cuthand, areas north of Detroit, Reno, Brookston, Roxton, Sumner, Direct, and other areas of Lamar and Red River counties.
Paris first responders were called to transformer fires and downed lines along Maple Avenue, West Kaufman Street, West Cherry Street, Lamar Avenue, 12th Street NE and 17th Street SW shortly after the first storm. Lamar Avenue between Peoples Bank and Tanglewood Apartments was closed as late as 2 a.m. after a utility pole fell across the street. Residents continued reporting downed lines in the city as late as 8:30 a.m.
With cooler, drier air now settled over the region, there will be a few nice days with highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s to 50s through Wednesday. Rain chances will be near zero, according to NWS meteorologists.
Today’s sky will start out partly sunny before gradually becoming sunny. The high will be around 71 with a north northwest wind around 15 to 20 mph, though gusts could be as high as 25 mph.
Tonight will be clear with a low around 44. Winds will shift to the west northwest and die down to about 5 to 10 mph.
Later this week, a stronger cold front will kick off another round of storms as it sags south into the region. Showers and thunderstorms will be likely ahead of the front Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Another bout of strong storms will be possible then, but severe weather potential may be limited by a lack of available moisture and instability, according to the NWS.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.