JACKSBORO, Texas - A powerful EF-3 tornado ripped through Jacksboro, a city 60 miles northwest of Fort Worth in Jack County, the National Weather Service confirmed.
Nine people were injured, and the tornado seriously damaged the schools.
The NWS surveyed the damage Wednesday and determined the tornado had powerful winds up to 150 mph.
Classes are canceled for the remainder of the week in the Jacksboro Independent School District.
Part of the roofs at the district’s elementary and high schools were torn off. The walls collapsed at the high school gym and there is other damage to the campuses.
"It just brought tears to my eyes. I have lived here for 15 years, and I love this place. It is hard," said Starla Sanders, the Jacksboro High School principal. "Haven’t seen, but I hear I don’t have a roof on my own house. My kids are safe, and my husband is safe and all the students are safe. That is what is important."
High school students who drove themselves to school were released early Monday as the risk of storms rose. Those who ride the bus took shelter inside the school, along with staff.
At the elementary school, parents who were waiting to pick up their kids rushed inside the building as the storm approached. There are now flipped cars with busted windows in the school’s parking lot.
Photo shows the damaged roof of Jacksboro High School after a reported tornado swept through the area Monday night.
"We knew the storm was coming," said parent Jessica Gass. "It was expected to be here at 4 o’clock, and school lets out at 3:30. But there were so many cars in line. And as you can see, the parking lot is destroyed. Tons of cars, but everyone is okay and they got inside still waiting to get their kids out. Our kids are okay. Our family is okay. Our friends are okay.
"Bottom line is we can repair that. I am just so thankful that our students and staff are safe. That was a prayer answered," said Superintendent Brad Burnett.
During a news conference Tuesday morning, Jack County officials said four people were rescued from their homes and nine people were taken to the hospital with injuries because of the storm.
Door to door searches will continue Tuesday to assess power line damage and gas leaks, officials said.
There is a Red Cross shelter at the Twin Lakes Activity Center in Jacksboro set up for people who have damage to their homes.