As devastating storms swept across Texas over the weekend, two storm chasers managed to film a massive tornado that was up to a half a mile wide at its strongest point.
The Basehunters storm chasing team of Scott Peake and Isaac Pato were driving near Rowlett, Texas when they saw the huge storm gathering strength ahead of them. As they drove closer along I-30, the tornado crossed the highway just ahead of them.
In the video, you can see the bright blue flashes as the storm takes out power lines in its path. Later the car passes a gas station that was flattened into a pile of debris, with gas leaking onto the pavement.
The storm chasers say the tornado continued northward across Lavon Lake and caused damage in Copeville before heading north along TX-78.
Rowlett City Manager Brian Funderburk later told local reporters that 23 people were injured in the storm:
“In the light of the day, we can now begin to see the impact this storm has had, and it is nothing short of catastrophic,” Funderburk said.
An early damage assessment shows 39 homes completely destroyed, though the city expects the number to rise.
As of 11 a.m., nearly 6,000 homes in eastern Rowlett were without power. Oncor is working on restoring power.
A temporary shelter has been set up at Steadham Elementary (6200 Dandridge Rd.), where the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are assisting. The city directs those wanting to send donations to the Red Cross website. Officials are in the process of creating a location to take donations of goods.