The Houston National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for the first time in bureau history Tuesday for a tornado that tore through the southeast side of the Houston metro area.
The tornado was reported by both spotters and was confirmed by radar, according to NWS officials. Reports of tornadoes traveled east in the evening in Louisiana.
Photos and videos show the damage that was left behind.
“Holy shit. I got a tornado on the ground right in front of me,” storm chaser Brad Arnold said. “People are driving right into it. Wait, it’s gonna get wild.
Arnold ordered the driver to pull over and pull over as a large tornado swept across the road ahead of them at Taylor Landing, Texas, near Beaumont.
In the afternoon, winds blew through a tractor-trailer on one of Houston’s major highways.
The storm attempted to toss a truck over the median of the ring road in Pasadena, Texas.
Residents of Pasadena, a southeast suburb of Houston, found torn buildings and pieces of them strewn across parking lots as they emerged from their shelters.
“In 25 years here, this is probably the worst damage I’ve seen,” a police official said at a news conference in Pasadena. “Just catastrophic.”
He said one person had been injured.
The winds damaged the Pasadena Animal Sanctuary, Pasadena Police said. A couple of dogs were injured. The shelter moved the 70 animals to another facility for safety reasons.
Storm chaser Jacob Hale was one of the first to photograph some of Pasadena’s damage.
“I have never seen anything like this before, especially in our region. And, you know, you have to remember that we’re used to hurricanes here,” said 20-year veteran Houston Fire Department captain Ryan Lee. “So, yes, the houses are built for hurricanes. Obviously, you can’t build much for tornadoes when it comes to the house.
“This ball of debris appeared to be at least a mile to a mile and a half wide,” PKB Weather’s Ian Oliver said.
Radar can show solid objects being thrown through the air. Meteorologists call the signature a debris ball.
A storm spotter reported multiple injuries in Deer Park after winds blew trees onto homes and cars. Emergency crews came en masse to attend to residents.
Lee said these are buses that can carry up to 17 patients. He told PKB Weather that a large ambulance transported several residents from a damaged nursing home to a hospital.
Shocked residents began the monumental cleanup chore when the wind and rain died down in the Houston metro area.
Trees and power lines littered the roads in the area. Nearly 120,000 customers lost power immediately after the storm.
Before sunset, the media made an aerial tour. Some houses and buildings were razed. Above it lacked a roof and we could look into the rooms.
A Pasadena home lost a second-floor bedroom.
Near Deer Park, Texas, a bank drive-in was gutted as tornado winds swept through, stripping the roof.
Gas station awnings were no match for the storm.
The videographer said: “Totally destroyed this gas station.”
In some areas, 2 to 5 inches of rain fell, according to radar estimates. Panicked parents rushed to collect their children from school and had to cross a river. Look at the wake of a car wash passing over the hood of the photographer’s car.
The parent tweeted: “It’s not even the worst, I just couldn’t record anymore.”
The Texas Department of Transportation wasted no time blocking flooded underpasses. It was at Wayside.
A fearless driver managed to continue on the road at the height of the storm’s intensity during a tornado warning. He was one of the few to stay on the road. Take a look at the line of cars that have stopped to wait.
Storm chasers tracked the line of Louisiana storms in the waning daylight after sunset.