2 Children Injured, Homes Destroyed as Tornado Rips Through Franklin, Texas

A tornado injured several people, shredded buildings, destroyed houses, overturned mobile homes and uprooted some trees as it tore through the small Texas town of Franklin on Saturday. Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak said about a dozen people were treated on the scene with minor injuries, and three people were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to KBTX.

Two children were injured. There were no reported fatalities.

Robertson County Judge Charles L. Ellison said much of Franklin was destroyed from the twister.

"I want to thank about half of Texas that came to help us. We have about half of South Franklin that was pretty much destroyed," said Ellison in a KBTX report from meteorologist Shel Winkley. "[We're] very fortunate not to have serious injuries. A few people with broken arms but nothing serious."

The Franklin Police Department issued a curfew during darkness to prevent foot traffic from damaged areas.

Franklin Police Department on the mic at the Robertson County Press Conference:

Mandatory cerfew in place 8pm tonight to 7am Sunday morning. They do not want foot traffic around storm damage. (1/2)

— Shel Winkley (@KBTXShel) April 13, 2019

Most of the Texas Brazos Valley, which lies about an hour north of Houston and two hours east of Austin, was under a tornado warning Saturday morning through mid-afternoon as a powerful storm system moved northeast from San Antonio through the Bryan-College Station area.

The National Weather Service reported building damage, a damaged transmission tower and trees that were knocked to the ground.

An AccuWeather report stated that almost all power was knocked offline in Robertson County — 3,100 of the nearly 3,500 lost power — during the storm. The storm also produced 3-inch hail that battered the rural county.

A shelter was set up in town for approximately 30 people who lost their homes. The local drive-thru safari was damaged, but the animals are okay, and the Franklin High School prom scheduled for Saturday night has been postponed.

Due to the devastation of the tornado in Franklin, FISD is postponing the prom. Prayers go out to anyone affected by the tragedy.

— Franklin ISD (@FranklinISD) April 13, 2019

Storm chasers, news crews and passersby of Franklin captured several photos and video of the damage Saturday.

This video from WeatherNation shows the twister from a distance.

Scary skies near Franklin, Texas where a tornado went through earlier today. pic.twitter.com/BfHFRjeEYg

— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) April 13, 2019

KBTX meteorologist Max Crawford shows this graphic of the storm just moments before the tornado touched down in Franklin.

"Debris signature right over Franklin proper. Likely tornado moving right into town," Crawford tweeted.

Debris signature right over Franklin proper. Likely tornado moving right into town pic.twitter.com/XSm175v3br

— Max Crawford (@KBTXMax) April 13, 2019

Greg Postel, a storm expert for The Weather Channel, said "Winds over 100 mph likely with this tornado."

Winds over 100 mph likely with this tornado, doing damage near Franklin Texas. #txwx pic.twitter.com/zi9ZxhtGaT

— Greg Postel (@GregPostel) April 13, 2019

Bob Pack, a local freelance contributor who chases storms, showed these photos of how powerful the storm was.

Power of nature from Franklin TX @KBTXErika @KBTXShel pic.twitter.com/lmLQ8EEv98

— Bob Pack (@BobPackWX) April 13, 2019

Evidence of tornado damage near Franklin TX. Here is a destroyed building. @NWSFortWorth @KBTXShel pic.twitter.com/1BdMvLLaHR

— Bob Pack (@BobPackWX) April 13, 2019

KBTX evening news anchor Rusty Surrette shared these photos from the scene in Franklin.


— Rusty Surette (@KBTXRusty) April 13, 2019

The town of Franklin has a popular drive-thru safari that was hit hard, but all reports indicate the animals are fine.

Animals at the Franklin drive-thru safari are safe after tornado passed through causing some structural damage. #khou11 pic.twitter.com/ClN22bVqKC

— Matt Dougherty (@MattKHOU) April 13, 2019

The storm was part of a system that developed in West Texas on Friday evening and spread as it moved eastward through the state Saturday morning, with high winds and damaging hail from Dallas to San Antonio. The storm was tracking northeastward to the East Texas cities of Lufkin and Nacogdoches and toward northwest Louisiana.