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Multiple Tornadoes Touch Down Across North Texas

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - Severe thunderstorms lashed parts of Texas throughout Monday afternoon and night – the second straight day of severe weather for the state – spawning more than a dozen tornadoes that caused widely scattered damage, but no immediate reports of injuries.

Multiple suspected tornadoes were reported at about 9:30 p.m. on Monday. They ravaged the area in and around the East Texas town of Crockett, about 130 miles north of Houston. Widespread damage was seen across Houston County, but the severity was unclear because, Fire Marshal David Lamb said, many of the affected areas were without power. Many trees were also blown down, Lamb said, either by tornadoes or straight-line winds.

Earlier on Monday, tornadoes were reported as touching down across a seven-county area south of the Metroplex. CBS 11 News Meteorologist Larry Mowry said that the first tornado reports came in at around 2:00 p.m. in Erath County, and moved west on a path from Somervell County to Johnson County, then Hill County, Navarro County, Henderson County and finally Freestone County on Monday evening.

One tornado formed briefly Monday about 30 miles southwest of Fort Worth, between Cleburne and Glen Rose. It was unclear how long it was on the ground, but spotters reported that it touched down. A thin, rope-like funnel was later seen near Itasca and captured live by Chopper 11.

Mowry explained that the tornadoes formed from a cluster of thunderstorms that kept regenerating from updrafts as they moved along. In Navarro County, the storm was producing 100 mph gusts in a described 'rain wrapped' tornado. The National Weather Service says that more of the same is expected Tuesday in North Texas.

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The twisters and funnel clouds generated by afternoon storms in North Texas were relatively weak, mostly striking open country south of the Metroplex, but there were reports of damage to a mobile home, a metal shed and many trees. The National Weather Service will most likely say that the tornadoes were in the EF-0 to EF-2 range.

As of late Monday, authorities said they had no reports of storm-related injuries anywhere in the state. But Ellis County emergency management coordinator John Patterson said that five people were left homeless when a suspected tornado tore the roof from their mobile home in the Avalon community, 40 miles south of Dallas. They were given shelter in the gymnasium of community school, which also suffered damage.

Roofs were damaged and trees blown down near the rural community of Emhouse, located about 45 miles south of Dallas, said Eric Meyers, Navarro County emergency management coordinator. Otherwise, the reported damage was mostly confined to uprooted trees in Cleburne State Park, about 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth, and broken limbs elsewhere.

Strong thunderstorm winds toppled a travel trailer and destroyed a metal shed in Sulphur Springs, about 70 miles northeast of Dallas. Damaging winds also were reported near Palestine in East Texas, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas. Storm sirens also sounded in Denton, but there was no report of a tornado there. That thunderstorm cell moved into Collin County, Fannin County, Hunt County and Hopkins County before continuing east.

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The storms came a day after confirmed tornadoes touched down near several West Texas towns, causing no injuries but pounding Abilene with hail the size of softballs. National Weather Service forecaster Joel Dunn said Monday that the large hail broke the windshields of 60 to 80 vehicles outside the Mall of Abilene on Sunday afternoon.

Dunn said that a tornado was confirmed Sunday afternoon in Callahan County, near Baird. And another tornado was reported about three miles north of Potosi. A third tornaado was reported by fire department personnel north of Moran, in Shackelford County. Again, there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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