Late Wednesday San Augustine storm classified as an EF-2 Tornado

NWS reports winds of between 111-to-135 miles per hour

UPDATE FROM DETEC: As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative had 1,246 members remaining without power within San Augustine, according to Brittney Ford, direcotor of communications.

Crews are diligently working to restore the damage to the San Augustine substation.  This morning's goal was to have power restored to the substation by this evening.  This task has proved to be more extensive than expected and the substation outage may continue into the night.

The San Augustine substation serves a portion of the City of San Augustine system and members along portions of Hwy 21 West, 147 South and North, FM 1751 and FM 2213.

After power is restored to the substation, crews will focus on rebuilding damaged lines and poles.

An EF-2 tornado struck the San Augustine area Wednesday night, according to a preliminary report from the National Weather Service Shreveport office.  Though the survey is in the early stages, NWS surveyors believe the storm that struck the San Augustine area had winds of 111 to 135 mph.  Numerous trees were uprooted or snapped, power poles broken, lines downed and homes damaged.

Above all, DETEC encourages everyone to keep safety a priority. Should you encounter a downed line, consider it live and dangerous.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time, Ford said.

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The late Wednesday night storm causing extensive damage in San Augustine has been classified as a tornado with EF-2 velocity winds, according to the National Weather Service in Shreverport.

Meteorologist Chris Nuttall said the tornado packed winds between 111 miles per hour and as much as 135 miles per hour. He said the super cell storm developed along the Nacogdoches-San Augustine County line south and southwest near Chireno and headed northeast through the town of San Augustine over Toledo Bend Lake toward Ruston, Louisiana.

“The super cell had about a 150-mile path,” Nuttall said. In addition to the reported tornadoes in San Augustine and Ruston, he said there were likely some other smaller and isolated tornado activity along the storm cell's pathway.

Nuttall said the tornado status for San Augustine was confirmed Thursday morning. Many businesses, even those not receiving direct damage, were closed due to the power outages.

TxDOT posted this traffic alert about 3 p.m. Thursday: SH 21 East from US 96 to SH 147 in San Augustine is closed this afternoon. Motorists should choose alternate routes. Stay alert and reduce speed. All other roads are open at this time.
 
San Augustine ISD classes were cancelled Thursday while CHI St. Luke's Memorial in San Augustine was diverting patients to Lufkin after power was out and a backup generator failed.

In San Augustine Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative crews were busy getting power restored as residents and business owners began the process of removing debris, downed trees and limbs and repairing property damage.

Extensive damage was reported Thursday morning as residents, business owners and emergency workers were on the scene in San Augustine after a strong storm/tornado cut a wide path from the west side of the town through town.

Power was out for much of San Augustine as the damage was assessed and the cleanup effort began. Trees were uprooted, many were broken off and splintered like they were toothpicks, power lines were down and storm debris was widespread.

Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative reported about 1,600 power as of 8 a.m. Thursday, with more than 1,200 of those in San Augustine County.

The other outages are primarily in the Sabine County area around Rebel Ridge, according to Brittney Ford, director of communication for the cooperative.

  “Around 11:20 p.m. (Wednesday, April 24) a tornado hit the San Augustine area causing massive damage,” Ford said. “For the Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative system – the San Augustine substation received damage and we are recording many poles and lines down.”

Ford said this substation serves the City of San Augustine and members along portions of Hwy 21 West, 147 South and North, FM 1751 and FM 2213.

Repairs to the substation have started and DETEC crews hope to have it back up this evening, she said.

“Areas with more extensive damage will take more time as crews must make repairs to the downed lines and poles,” Ford said. Above all, DETEC encourages everyone to keep safety a priority. Should you encounter a downed line, consider it live and dangerous.
The National Weather Service from Shreveport reported two tornado damage survey teams deployed in the field today.

For more photos of damage in the San Augustine area, please click below:

https://lightandchampion.smugmug.com/San-Augustine-city-and-county-hit-hard-by-overnight

The Light and Champion

137 San Augustine St.
Center TX 75935
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