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Tornado warnings issued as severe storm system passes through county


5-20-13 from Clay County Pioneer Sentinel on Vimeo.

Residents in north and central Clay County were forced to take cover Monday afternoon and into the early evening as a line of severe thunderstorms resulted in conditions favorable for the formation of tornadoes.

At 5:39 p.m., a tornado was reported to have touched down near the Clay-Montague county line near Ringgold. As of 7 p.m., no major damage has been reported, said Kent neville, emergency management coordinator for Clay County.

Two tornado warnings were issued for Clay County. The National Weather Service in Norman, Okla., issued the first at 3:24 p.m. for the northern part of the county, including Petrolia, Byers and surrounding communities.

The super cell thunderstorm crawled across northern Clay County at 20-30 miles per hour. Large scale rotation and a wall cloud, indicating possible formation of a tornado, was spotted about four miles northwest of Petrolia, and again in Byers. The storm produced hail reported to be from Ping-Pong ball to tennis ball in size, as well as high winds and dangerous lightening.

The storm moved across the Red River into Jefferson County Oklahoma, which was also in a tornado warning.

A second super cell storm formed near Wichita Falls and traveled east at approximately 20 miles per hour, forcing the NWS to issue a second tornado warning at 5:03 p.m., this time for central Clay County, including Jolly, Dean and Henrietta. With large-scale rotation and the presence of a wall cloud, officials sounded the tornado sirens in Henrietta. The sirens blew for approximately 10 minutes before the storm moved to the east of town along Hwy. 287.

The central Clay County storm dropped marble to golf ball sized hail in parts of Henrietta and elsewhere.

The super cell moved into Montague County, where two more tornado warnings were issued.

Parts of Clay County received from 1-4 inches of rain during the storms.

The thunderstorms were part of a line of severe storms reaching north into Missouri. The system produced a number of tornadoes to strike parts of central Oklahoma, including a tornado on Monday that decimated the town of Moore, Okla.


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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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