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Tornado hits Rockport area, damages homes

NWS confirms EF-0 tornado slammed Holiday Beach

HOLIDAY BEACH, Texas – The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi confirmed that an EF-0 tornado slammed Holiday Beach outside Rockport early Thursday.

NWS crews surveyed the areas Thursday that were hard hit along the Texas Coast.

"We look at the scope of the damage, the areas that were impacted. Then we try and determine a length and width where damages began or end," said John Metz, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service. "Then we look at the structures themselves -- how they came apart, the direction that the damage was blown, and then we compare that to radar imagery of where the storm was as it moved through that area." 

Crews used different equipment to collect data. 

"We have radar imagery that we brought with us in the car to bring us to the site of where we saw some rotation on radar, and of course where the damage was reported," Metz said. "We have software on our phones that we can (to) take pictures and map the location. With those tools, it helps us indicate the type of damage, how much damage occurred to a building and it can help us assess how strong the winds might have been."

Seven people were inside one of the homes damaged on Belaire Drive in Holiday Beach. 

Aransas County Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Koerner said his office received a call around 1:30 a.m. about the storm damage to the home. 

The Aransas County Sheriff's Department, Lamar Volunteer Fire Department and the Fulton Fire Department arrived to check out damage. 

Koerner said everyone got out of the building safely and no one was hurt. The house was destroyed and part of the roof flew across the street onto Dianne Nielsen's property. 

Nielsen said she spoke with the construction workers, who made it out of the home safely. 

"They were just amazed. They said they were out fishing and they saw the tornado coming across the bay," Nielsen said. "They ran into the house, and grabbed anything they can grab ahold of and got through the storm, and said it was really amazing that the house (was) flying apart."

Nielsen said her home was destroyed for the second time. The first time was during Hurricane Harvey in August.

"This house was hurt so badly by Hurricane Harvey. We went through so much trauma then. We cried a lot. We mourned a lot. We lost everything we owned," she said. 

Her family is hopeful and believes everything will be OK. 

The county is also assessing the damage.