Crews work to restore power to storm-ravaged Van Vleck

VAN VLECK, TX (KTRK) -- A tornado wreaked havoc in Van Vleck, a small community in Matagorda County, on Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service has confirmed. Rated an EF1 on a scale of zero through five, the storm's destructive path tore through homes, trailers and businesses both in Van Vleck and in neighboring communities.

According to the Matagorda Sheriff's Office, the storm damaged at least 15 homes in Van Vleck. Footage from the scene shows homes with roofs ripped off and trailers on their sides. As night fell, crews continued to work to restore power to the storm-ravaged town.

"This is kind of the worst place it could hit is here because some of these people -- they can't just go anywhere and stay, they gotta stay here," Jackson Electric technician Marty Palomares said of Van Vleck residents who had were stuck in their damaged homes.

Six people in the area sustained injuries directly related to the storm, none of which were serious, the National Weather Service reported.

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Van Vleck resident Harry Hobbs was among the injured. He said he feels lucky to have emerged from his demolished home alive.

"I was going into the room and the center blew off, then I got popped upside the head," Hobbs recalled.

VIDEO: Tornado damage from SkyEye
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SkyEye's view of tornado damage across southeastern Texas.

"I looked back and said, 'I can't take another one of them,' so I went to block it, and that's how I hurt my hand," he explained.

VIDEO: Van Vleck students shelter-in-place, sing National Anthem during storm
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In Van Vleck, students gathered in the hallway of their school and sang the National Anthem as tornadoes bore down.

Hobbs was transported to the hospital with an injured wrist.

From Herman Loop to Hardeman Drive and back to County Road 126, devastation was rampant across the city.

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An EF1 tornado wreaked havoc across Van Vleck, destroying homes and toppling trailers.

"We have nothing. We might be able to salvage some clothes and stuff out of the house, but everything's gone," Sally Farley, Hobb's girlfriend, said of the damage. "I just keep telling myself that at least everybody's okay."

The National Weather Service deployed teams to survey damage in Van Vleck and neighboring Fort Bend and Wharton counties, which were also hit particularly hard by the storm.

VIDEO: Tornadoes damage homes in Fort Bend, Wharton counties
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In Fort Bend County, severe weather damaged homes and businesses and toppled power lines.

The storm system eventually moved to the northeast, passing directly over Houston's most heavily populated urban areas.

Minor damage was reported in West University Place, where heavy winds damaged utility poles, fences and some small structures near the 6700 block of Sewanee Avenue.

Otherwise, Houston's most heavily populated urban areas escaped the storm relatively unscathed.

Authorities in the city and several neighboring counties confirmed that no injuries were reported as the storm moved eastward.

Through Wednesday morning, the storm is expected to move eastward across the Gulf Coast. While the risk of tornadic activity has decreased, meteorologists warn that the storm could continue to produce heavy winds.
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