2 fatalities reported as severe storms push through East Texas

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(Marion County, Tx) – Severe storms started to move through East Texas about 10:30 p.m. Saturday night and continued until around 6 a.m. Sunday.

Storms produced large hail, sometimes in excess of 2 inches in diameter, damaging wind gusts over 70 mph, and reports of a possible tornado near Lake O’ the Pines. One KTBS 3 viewer shared an image of golf ball sized hail in the De Berry, Tx area.

Extreme thunderstorms and high winds cost the life of a south Texas woman late Saturday night. Mary Pinney, 40, from Mt. Belvieu, Texas, was struck and killed by a wind blown large tree that fell on the tent that she and her family were camping in. Ms. Pinney’s husband was seriously injured in the accident and transported to an area hospital. Their three children also present in the tent were not injured.

The family was camped at Brushy Creek Campground, a US Army Corp of Engineer’s maintained campground located on the southwest shore of Lake of the Pines. Apparent straight line winds blew down large trees inside the campground and in other residential neighborhoods in the area. Numerous power lines were down and roads were blocked by fallen trees and debris.

The campground was full when the storm struck. Many children and teenagers were present and getting an apparent jump start on next week’s spring break. There were a few more minor and moderate injured that were transported to hospitals by private vehicle, but the exact number has not been determined. Debris cleanup and damage assessment will continue for several more days, along with removal of the numerous damaged RV’s and vehicles.

Responding departments included the Texas Department of Public Safety, US Army Corp of Engineers, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, along with fire departments from Harelton in Harrison County, and Marion County VFD’s from Jackson and Mims. Several private citizens with chain saws and tools also assisted in this effort.

Our KTBS 3 News crew is at the Brushy Creek campsite, but authorities aren’t allowing access to the camp. The campground is inaccessible due to downed trees and emergency services personnel are going in on foot.

According to Longview police, a second death was reported in Longview after a tree fell on a home around 4 a.m. Sunday killing a 41-year-old man. His name has not been released at this time. His 12-year-old son was also injured, but is expected to be okay.

There have been reports this damaged was caused from a possible tornado, but at this time that cannot be confirmed. No tornado warnings were issued last night, however the National Weather Service office in Shreveport will be sending a survey team to the area at a time yet to be determined.

Damage is also being reported in the Harleton area.

Hail also caused damage across multiple counties, including Titus, Morris, Gregg, Panola, and likely several others.

by KTBS 3
March 11, 2018

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Kyrie Wagner