Photos, videos show devastation of severe weather near Waxahachie, Texas

While this week's storms across North Texas were devastating to local communities—including a massive accident on Interstate 35 near Waxahachie—experts said severe weather events like this don't necessarily indicate an abnormal weather season.

"Tornadoes and high-end severe wind events are sporadic, and individual events are not harbingers of worse severe weather seasons," Center for Severe Weather Research President Joshua Wurman told Newsweek on Tuesday.

"It is very challenging to forecast severe weather more than a couple to a few days in the future....Just because we may have a warmer-than-normal or wetter than normal spring or summer does not mean more severe weather. A hot day, even a hot moist day with thunderstorms, might not produce tornadoes, because some of the other tornado-favoring conditions aren't present."

I-35E reopened early Tuesday morning after crews finished clearing debris from the accident caused by the weather. Officials said the crash involved one "possible fatality" at I-35 and Johnson Road after a massive storm flipped over three 18-wheelers and displaced the road median Monday night, WFAA reported.

The accident occurred after authorities issued a tornado watch late Monday for much of North Texas until 11 p.m. on the warmest day of the year so far, according to NBC 5.

As least three possible tornadoes were also reported to the National Weather Service as of Tuesday morning, but WFAA reported none have yet been confirmed.

Video of Blum, TX tornado https://t.co/KNiK4foYB2

— Vanessa Coleman (@kywxgal) May 4, 2021

Governor Greg Abbott issued a warning ahead of the storm and ordered additional resources to provide severe weather relief.

"As these severe storms threaten North Texas and the I-35 corridor, I urge Texans in the North and Central portions of our state to take precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe," Abbott said on Monday in a press release.

"The State of Texas has placed numerous resources on standby ahead of the arrival of these storms, and we will work closely with local officials throughout the night to provide any assistance needed to respond."

FRIGHTENING: Dallas TV station WFAA reports that three 18 wheel trucks flipped over on Interstate 35 near Waxahachie, Texas, during a severe thunderstorm warning Monday night. pic.twitter.com/jK6szcolX5

— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) May 4, 2021

Wurman said Abbott's actions ahead of the storm were "very good" but that the devastation of severe weather storms like this one are typically underestimated, according to a recent report he published which found that tornadoes are much stronger and wider than damage-based ratings indicate.

"This means that, with ever-increasing suburban sprawl, a surprisingly increase of risk from intense tornadoes may occur," he said.

Before the severe weather, Abbott ordered the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to direct resources to communities, including boat teams, saw crews, helicopters, power-outage monitoring and medical services.

Pretty serious damage along Highway 77 south of Waxahachie. I'd estimate tornado was around a quarter mile wide here pic.twitter.com/kKCozpIiNC

— Connor McCrorey (@ConnorWX) May 4, 2021

According to Oncor's Outage map, thousands of Texas were still without power as of Tuesday morning. Monday night's storm comes just five days after previous storms caused similarly severe damage in the state. CBS News reported that the South could see severe weather continue through the week, with 17 tornadoes already confirmed across the South from Sunday and Monday.

Texas experiences "probably the widest variety of severe" weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding ice and snow," Wurman said.

Tornado carves path of damage near Waxahachie, TX. ➡️ https://t.co/NsyNXT9IEi #NBCDFWWeather pic.twitter.com/Tq2I3Tk0j2

— Larry Collins (@LarryNBC5) May 4, 2021

When asked about whether climate change plays a role in driving these severe weather events, Wurman said "the short, and frustrating, answer is that it is uncertain."

"The reason that it is hard to connect tornado frequency to climate change is the combination of ingredients necessary to form tornadoes," Wurman said. "It is not enough for it to be hot or moist, for example. This is different than for, say, western fires. In the case of fires, more hot and dry [equal] more fires. It's a pretty simple relationship.

"Some studies are suggesting a subtle climate-change effect that there may be more days with a lot of tornadoes, even though the total yearly number doesn't change much. But, this is not 'settled science.'"

Tough situation here outside Waxahachie, Texas.

Vehicle(s) blown over on I-35E southbound when tornado-warned storm moved through.

I-35E northbound is completely blocked and first responders are having trouble getting to the scene. #TXwx @breakingweather pic.twitter.com/NMSlNhT3ZV

— Bill Wadell (@BillWadell) May 4, 2021

Two of the trucks and a van involved in the I-35 crash were on the southbound side, while another truck was on the northbound side, according to the Texas Department of Safety (DPS).

WFAA reported that the two southbound trucks were pushed into the center median of I-35, while the van was pushed into one of the trucks before it drove over to the road's shoulder. The truck heading north was pushed off the interstate into a field.

First responders used the Jaws of Life to extract people from two of the overturned trucks. DPS officials said the three truck drivers were taken to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Waxahachie, and one "potential fatality" was reported.

No injuries were reported among the passengers or driver in the van.

Video from my cousin in Granbury... Taken around 6:10pm while he was heading down Highway 377 @NBCDFW @NBCDFWWeather pic.twitter.com/hA6dteWHD8

— Katy Blakey (@KatyBlakeyNBC5) May 3, 2021

Investigators said no hazardous materials were deposited by the overturned trucks, but social media reports show clean-up crews clearing commodities such as Nutella, Tic Tacs, red peppers and cucumbers from the road.

Both sides of interstate were closed until shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday to allow officials to clear the roads

The storm also caused damage in Hood County, were emergency officials reported downed power lines, and the Crossing Place Church on Highway 377 lost its roof, according to WFAA. No one was in the church at the time and no injuries were reported.

I-35E northbound is still blocked more than 3 hours after a tornado-warned storm flipped over several trucks near Waxahachie, Texas.

We're working to confirm the condition of the drivers involved. We'll be live with updates on AccuWeather Early 📺 @accuweather #TXwx #tornado pic.twitter.com/p3BvWj29a7

— Bill Wadell (@BillWadell) May 4, 2021

The National Weather Service confirmed one tornado touched down briefly on Monday near Blum, Texas, in Hill County, causing severe damage to buildings, AccuWeather reported.

Newsweek has reached out to TDEM for comment on the storms.

This story has been updated with comment from Wurman.

Tornado
A storm caused a severe accident on a Texas interstate Monday night in which three trucks were flipped over. Above, Center for Severe Weather Research intern Hunter Anderson takes photographs of a supercell thunderstorm on May 10, 2017, in Quanah, Texas. Drew Angerer/Getty Images