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Tornado damage reported in Texas, Missouri after Thursday’s round of severe storms

HAWLEY, Texas For more than a week, severe, unrelenting weather has been torturing states across the United States. That trend continued Thursday, with nearly 100 severe weather reports, most of which were concentrated in Texas.

Prior to the severe weather event, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center issued a Level 3 of 5 severe storm threat for about 300,000 Texans in the central and western parts of the Lone Star State.

The worst of the storms hit rural towns such as Hawley and Hamlin in the west-central part of the state.

Videos showed significant damage outside the town of Hawley, where storm chasers searched the rubble for victims.

The local school district said several families lost their homes during the storm and that any storm-related student absences on Friday would be excused.

After the bad weather, a shelter was opened at a local church for storm victims who needed a place to stay.

Earlier in the day, the National Weather Service in Houston received a report of a tree that fell on a school bus during a storm, as well as downed fences near Chateau Woods in Montgomery County, Texas. The Hardin County Emergency Management Coordinator also reported hail the size of a half dollar in Kountze, Texas.

CenterPoint Energy reported that more than 100,000 customers were without power in the Houston metropolitan area.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also expanded the disaster declaration to include 59 counties at risk of severe weather and flooding.

In Central Texas, a major tornado was reported outside Abilene, Texas, in Jones County.

FOX Weather Storm Trackers said the tornado occurred in a rural area but remained on the ground for several minutes.

There were no initial reports of damage in the town of Anson following the severe weather.

Further north, at least one tornado was spotted outside Joplin, Missouri. Video taken from Joplin Regional Airport showed the tornado making brief contact with the ground. Several homes were also reported to have been damaged.

Hail and damaging winds were also reported in the Show-Me State.

Flooding remains a serious concern

As the storms progressed, they lost their severe components and became strong rain generators.

Flood watches extended from Iowa to Texas, with expectations that additional rain could cause flash flooding. Additional precipitation totals of 2 to 3 inches are expected through Thursday.

People in parts of East Texas have already been told to evacuate as rivers overflow their banks. With more heavy rain falling over the same area, flood will probably increase.

MILLIONS IN TEXAS FACE SERIOUS FLOOD RISK AND OFFICIALS URGE SOME TO EVACUATE

Severe weather risk persists through Friday

Scattered strong to severe thunderstorms are possible Friday night into Saturday morning across portions of the central and southern Plains. Large hail, damaging winds, and an isolated tornado are possible.