A tornado — probably on the lower end of the wind speed scale — touched down in northern Brown County during the widespread outbreak of thunderstorms and tornado warnings Thursday night, the National Weather Service confirmed. There were no reports of injuries.
Tornado sirens were activated in Brownwood Friday evening after the southern portion of the county was placed under a tornado warning. A funnel cloud briefly touched down near Trickham, but the worst of the storm — which included high winds, heavy rain and marble-sized hail — slid south of town.
The Lyric Theatre stopped its first show Friday night when the sirens sounded and the audience was moved to the basement. The show was restarted at 8:30 p.m. and ran to conclusion. Mayor Stephen Haynes and his family, Police Chief Terry Nichols and Assistant Chief James Fuller were in the audience. City manager Emily Crawford is in the cast and council member Larry Mathis is director.
Also, the Brookesmith High School graduation was forced to move into the old gym, which contains no windows.
National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Woodward gave the weather service’s preliminary analysis of Thursday night’s tornado, which damaged two to three homes, numerous trees, barns and sheds in the Cross Cut area.
Woodward said it appeared the tornado was on the ground for four to five miles and was about a quarter-mile wide.
A damage survey team visited the area Friday morning and will determine the tornado’s EF (enhanced Fujita) scale after analyzing damage, Woodward said.
Preliminary analysis showed the tornado was likely on the “high end of EF1,” the second-lowest rating, Woodward said.
An EF1 tornado has a wind speed of 86-110 mph and can cause damage including roof damage, mobile homes pushed off foundations and moving vehicles pushed off the road, according to www.tornadofacts.net.