Denton officials send emergency response team to Hood, Johnson counties
Some Denton officials are in Hood and Johnson counties today to help with the emergency response to the tornadoes that killed at least six people and injured dozens more Wednesday night.
At least 10 tornadoes touched down, with the most damaging tornado touching down at approximately 8:10 to 8:15 p.m. in Hood County east of Granbury, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety report released Thursday.
According to the report, about 30 to 45 homes were destroyed in Hood County and damage assessments are ongoing. Ellis County also had significant damage to commercial businesses and homes, according to the report.
More than 15,000 people were without power Thursday morning in Dallas, Ellis, Johnson and Tarrant counties, but officials said they expect to restore all power by today, according to the report.
Officer Ryan Grelle, spokesman for the Denton Police Department, is a member of the North Texas Public Information Officers group. He went to Granbury on Thursday and plans to be there through at least today, he said.
If they need further help, he could be gone for as long as a week, he said.
Jody Gonzalez, Denton County emergency management coordinator, said the county sent a certified emergency response team and a full-time emergency management worker to assist with damage assessment at the request of Johnson County on Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, a county logistics vehicle was also sent to aid in the same mission, he said.
In Denton, the National Weather Service reported 1.86 inches of rain at Denton Enterprise Airport between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Denton County sheriff's officials received no reports of storm damage, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Sandi Brackeen.
Grelle said Denton police also received no damage reports.
Several area cities reported high winds and heavy rain but no damage.
Counties to the north and west reported more significant storms.
Ray Fletcher, emergency management coordinator for Cooke County, said the only thing reported there was a few trees down in the Mountain Springs area.
“Good rain, we sure needed it,” he said.
Montague County Sheriff Paul Cunningham said his county had two confirmed tornadoes: one on the south end of the county near Amon Carter Lake and the other near Lake Nocona to the north.
No injuries were reported. Cunningham said one home was destroyed, two more had severe damage and several homes’ roofs were damaged.
“We had one vehicle that an individual was in that flipped over and scooted down the road with him still in it,” Cunningham said.
Several areas were without power for a while.
On Thursday morning, Cunningham said officials were helping people clean up and were checking on the injured.
In Wise County, Sheriff David Walker said residents were “extremely lucky” during the storms. The county reported no injuries or major damage.
“We had one confirmed tornado touch down,” he said. “But weather spotters who called in reported multiple touchdowns.”
Areas of Wise County received between 1.7 to 4.4 inches of rain and pea- to golf ball-size hail, he said.
Wise County officials also offered to assist Hood and Johnson counties with relief efforts.
“I’m pretty sure they’re getting a lot of help,” Walker said. “I talked to the sheriffs in each county and told them that if they need any extra dispatchers or deputies, the offer will stay on the table.”
Some relief efforts are under way.
Pat Patey, a spokesman with the Salvation Army in Dallas, said teams are on standby to help with relief efforts.
The Salvation Army has a volunteer disaster team in Hood County to help tornado victims, and a mobile kitchen from Fort Worth was stationed near Granbury to offer snacks and water Thursday morning until 3:30 a.m.
Patey said Salvation Army volunteers are talking to the Emergency Management Office to find out what is needed.
He also suggested the community provide monetary donations by going to www.salvationarmydfw.org or calling 1-800 SAL-ARMY.
Tom Newell, chairman of the board of the Denton Community Food Center, said in an e-mail that officials with local food banks have instructed the center to be ready to provide assistance, but not to send supplies without a request from local authorities.
“It actually causes more confusion and problems to send unsolicited food, clothing, etc., as we have seen in West, Texas, most recently,” he said.
Staff writers Bj Lewis and Karina Ramirez contributed to this report.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882and via Twitter at @JDHarden.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.