Tornadoes, evacuation order, weekend forecast


Multiple tornadoes hit Texas near Abilene on Thursday, including one in Hawley that was caught on camera by storm chaser Russ Contreras.

“We had several confirmed tornadoes this evening,” he said National Weather Service office in San Angelo on X Thursday evening. “Please pay attention to the weather and make sure you have a way to receive warnings!” The weather service also released a map showing where the tornadoes struck.

The Hawley Independent School District said in a statement on Facebook that “the Hawley community has been hit pretty hard and we have several families who have lost their homes.” The district said that while the school appears to have been spared major damage , but the site was experiencing “quite significant” flooding.

The district also said Friday will be a flexible day for students, meaning school will be open on the regular schedule for students who are able to attend, but attendance will not be mandatory and will not be observed.

Photos of the tornado in Hawley, Texas

San Jacinto River evacuation order

In the southeastern part of the state, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a disaster declaration and mandatory evacuation for residents on the East Fork of the San Jacinto River in Houston during a news conference Thursday.

Hidalgo said residents had to evacuate their homes because of the high water threat and should leave as quickly as possible. Officials said the stretch of the San Jacinto River is nearly 78 feet above sea level, which is about three feet below the water level from Hurricane Harvey.

Some 24-hour rainfall totals exceeded seven inches in the region, according to FOX Weather, with rainfall totals in recent days hovering around a foot.

Texas weather forecast for Friday and the weekend

The National Weather Service office in San Angelo said severe weather potential remained in the region Friday and there was a low to slight risk of severe storms in the afternoon and evening.

“Large hail, damaging winds and even a tornado will be possible again,” the NWS said.

For Saturday, the weather service said more widespread thunderstorms would lead to “a chance for heavy rainfall across portions of west-central Texas, primarily in the Big Country and the Heartland” during the day and night.

According to the NWS, rainfall could be heavy enough to trigger flash flooding in roads, creeks, creeks and other low-lying areas. Additionally, Saturday's storms pose the “greatest risk for very large hail larger than 2 inches in diameter.”

A flood warning is in effect in the Houston-Galveston area through Friday, with flooding particularly dangerous at night, the NWS said.

“Scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms will continue today, primarily north of I-10 and east of I-45,” the NWS said Friday morning. “There is a possibility of heavy rainfall which could lead to flash flooding. Some storms may become strong to severe, with hail and strong gusts being the primary risks,” the NWS said.

Severe Weather Watches and Warnings for Texas

Here's a look at a map of watches and alerts across the state.

Map of Texas power outages

As of 6:40 a.m. local time Friday, nearly 30,000 power outages had been reported across Texas, including more than 12,000 in Harris County, according to a USA TODAY power outage tracker.

Gabe Hauari is a nationally featured news reporter at USA TODAY. You can follow him on X @GabeHauari or email him at [email protected].

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