Storms topple trees, carport; lightning sparks large brush fire

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Al Key/DRC
A tremendous display of cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning over Denton seen from North Lakes Park late Sunday night. The magnitude of the large bolt can be seen by comparing the 24-story Guinn Hall at TWU at the bottom of the photo to the size of the strike.

A Sunday evening microburst downed trees and power lines in Aubrey, damaging at least one carport, knocking out power and closing roads for several hours, officials said.

“It was kind of a freak little deal,” said Aubrey police Officer Terry Collins.

The estimated 45 mph winds hit the north side of the community of around 2,700 people, scattering tree limbs that blocked about 10 to 15 roads, he said.

Lt. William Townsend of the Aubrey Police Department gathered crews and cleared the roads within a few hours, Collins said.

The downed power lines interrupted power to most of the community for about three hours, Collins said, adding that residents still had a bit of cleanup to do early Monday. Power was restored by 10:15 p.m. Sunday. The storm also damaged a transformer at Black Jack Road and U.S. Highway 377.

The damaged carport — belonging to a police officer not in the Aubrey Police Department — collapsed and destroyed a car inside, Collins said. An old tree in the officer’s front yard split in two, falling on the carport.

Cosmetic damages to Aubrey High School were reported as well.

Collins said the town and its residents were fortunate.

“There was some property damage but not as much as it could have been,” he said.

The storm also brought rain, Collins said. Skies were just beginning to clear around 11 a.m. Monday.

“It’s a pretty good rain,” he said. “We’re sorry for the damage, but thankful for the rain.”

The system pushing through North Texas late Sunday was part of a slow-moving cold front headed south of the Red River, according to the National Weather Service.

The same storm system, packed with lightning, set off a brush pile in nearby Pilot Point.

Flames shot 20 to 30 feet in the air when the lightning hit a pile of brush where the landowners were clearing brush from property off Light Ranch Road, said Jody Gonzalez, Denton County emergency director.

The blaze covered an area about half the size of a football field, he said, adding the fire took firefighters about four to five hours to extinguish late Sunday.

According to National Weather Service records, the area in northern Denton County has received almost an inch of rain.

Skies were expected to clear by early afternoon with a high of 95 by mid-afternoon, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

DAWN COBB can be reached at 940-566-6879.

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