NWS: Tornado briefly touches down in Weimar, damages high school scoreboard and derails train

May 11, 2012 10:12:01 AM PDT
Now that the storm has passed, cleanup is underway in Colorado County, where a tornado hit last night. That twister came all too close for some students and their parents as they scrambled to take cover in Weimar High School.

Volunteers picked up mangled metal, shattered glass and even trees that were ripped out of the ground.

The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado briefly touched down around 5:30pm near Weimar High School. There were people at the school's football field selling pizza for a fundraiser when it hit. Eight of them were taken to a hospital with injuries that were said to be non-life-threatening. Their Papa John's trailer was overturned during the storm.

"I hit the floorboards and I put my head down and just started praying," said District Head of Maintenance and Transportation Ricky Ramirez.

Weimar High School is closed today as officials assess the damage to the campus.

"It looks like our structures are sound. We do have a little roof damage that we're going to have to take care of if we get more rain today," said Weimar ISD Superintendent Jon Wunderlich.

Ramirez is leading the cleanup effort on campus.

"The football field, the stadium, the press box -- there's nothing left. It's just unbelievable," he said.

With all these volunteers working all weekend, the district hopes to start classes on Monday.

"When you see tin wrapped around a post and stuff like that, it was very strong and we were fortunate it just hit our sports facilities," said Wunderlich.

Colorado County Judge Ty Prause said says one train was derailed and a hospital in Weimar was damaged badly enough that patients had to be evacuated and taken to other hospitals in the area. It wasn't known how many patients were affected.

"Shingles were flying off the roof of the building of the school," Weimar High School junior Peyton Wunderlisch said. "If you look down the football field, the press box, the football field, just was gone, so all that was blown away in an instant and we had no idea what was going on at the time. We were just scared."

Prause says there was another truck that had the windows blown out and the driver was injured there, too.

An eyewitness says cemetery close to the school also sustained some damage.

Around other parts of the city, several trees were ripped out of the ground and many homes have roof damage. The storm also knocked out power to parts of the town.

Earlier in the day, some of our computer models picked up on the increased moisture levels a line of storms blowing from the west. However, KTRK Chief Meteorologist Tim Heller says no tornado warning was issued for the storm before the tornado touchdown.

More showers are expected today. Then rain will likely stick around into Saturday before clearing for Mother's Day.

If you caught photos or video of this event, you can upload them at iWitness.abc13.com or email them to news@abc13.com.

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