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County leaders stand ready to help

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

Denton County officials remained on standby Monday night to help in the recovery after a massive tornado destroyed much of Moore, Okla.

Jody Gonzalez, emergency management coordinator for Denton County, said at about 8 p.m. Monday that their office answered a request for a roster of personnel who could be deployed to Oklahoma to help, but that's as far as the request went.

"We were told this was specifically not an activation," Gonzalez said. "But this way, we can be ready to go, and not start from scratch if we're needed."

Traffic along Interstate 35 backed up soon after the storm, as far south as Ardmore, Okla. At least one telecommunications company, AT&T, put out a request on Twitter that people text instead of telephoning to save bandwidth for first responders.

Local first responders were still monitoring the weather radar Monday evening as storms continued to fire up in western counties and move toward Denton County.

Gonzalez said he remained hopeful that the cap would hold down the storms' intensity, as it had for Cooke County earlier in the evening.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jesse Moore confirmed that there had been no reports of tornadoes touching down in far northwestern Cooke County, as that cluster of storms, which dropped hail about 1/2-inch in diameter, pushed into southern Oklahoma.

That storm then carried into Ardmore, with a funnel cloud but no tornado.

There was a report of a brief touchdown in Montague County, near Ringgold, but no reports of significant damage. Straight-line winds also were reported damaging the roof of a Wal-Mart in Bowie, Moore said.

Storm-spotters reported another tornado touching down near Brownwood, but no significant damage, Moore said.

Another round of storms is expected today (Tuesday) in North Texas, with less protection from the cap.

"It's our turn," Moore said. "We'll be keeping an eye out."

Staff photographer Al Key contributed to this report.