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Bell County judge says residents could be without power for days after tornado hits

Bell County Courthouse in Belton, Texas.
Bell County Courthouse in Belton, Texas.

Sixty-one homes and two churches were damaged after a tornado touched down in southern Bell County on Tuesday, the county judge said. About 638 homes were without power.

Twenty-three people were injured, one critically, Bell County Judge David Blackburn said at a news conference. There were no deaths reported.

The first calls to emergency services came in at about 5:30 p.m. The tornado, roughly 1/4 mile wide, traveled about 8 miles up from the northern Williamson County line and traveled northeast along FM 2843. It left a wake of uprooted trees, downed power lines and buildings reduced to rubble.

The National Weather Service says it was an EF-3 with winds of 165 miles an hour and was on the ground for about 30 minutes.

Blackburn said it would likely be days before power was back. Restoring power was one of three priorities, he said, along with ensuring all residents were accounted for and removing debris.

He issued a local state of disaster, as did Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell to the south. Gravell said about 15 structures were damaged near Florence.

Residents impacted by the tornado who need assistance can call 254-534-4562. Those who wish to make donations can call 254-534-2217.

Allyson Ortegon is a former Williamson County reporter for KUT.
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