NECHES — Neches residents are continuing to clean up after an early Saturday morning storm uprooted large trees and caused other damage to homes and properties.

“From the evidence that I’ve heard, it sounds like there’s a 50 percent chance it was either straight line winds or a tornado,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Alan Moller Saturday evening. “We had several people from our office doing surveys today of storm damage from straight line winds and a few very small tornadoes all over the Northeast Texas area.”

Neches resident Doyce Wedgeworth was up watching the lightening storm this morning when it hit.

“You hear people say it sounds like a train is coming through your house — and that’s exactly what it sounded like. It was somewhere between 5:30 and 5:45 a.m. with very little wind and very little rain and very little water damage,” Wedgeworth said.

The entire 68-foot front porch connected to his house was ripped off and strewn 100 feet behind the house.

“I started out the door, but I couldn’t get it open — it was all over in 30 to 40 seconds,” he said. “I never heard the porch ‘leave’ (torn off the house) — it was just gone. That’s when I knew something wasn’t right — I saw water from a light fixture start coming in on top of my dining room table. Still, we had just a few buckets worth of water come into the house.”

Wedgeworth’s wife, Jan, returned from Houston Saturday morning to help assess the damage.

“You never really think it’s going to happen to you, but then it does,” Jan Wedgeworth said.

Neches resident Floyd Hammonds, his wife and three children were asleep when they awoke to the sound of the storm.

“We woke up to what sounded like a freight train — you could hear the pressure in the house — it was popping and cracking,” Hammonds said.

More than 15 trees — many of them very large — were uprooted near his home in Neches on FM 2574 and strewn across the highway, along with power lines. As of this evening, a large trampoline was stuck at least six feet in the air across the highway in the trees.

“People have been stopping by all day to see the storm damage when they see the trampoline in the trees,” Hammonds said.

The underpinning to his home was torn off, shingles were ripped off the back side of the home, with major damage to his fences, gates and to the chicken pens on his property.

“My chicken coops are torn all to pieces,” Hammonds said, surveying the damage. “I’m thankful that nobody got hurt.”

According to residents, a truck ran into a tree that was in the road along FM 2574 sometime early Saturday morning, but no information was available as of press time.

“Very little rain leads me to believe that there’s a pretty good chance it was a tornado,” Moller with the NWS said. “Downbursts usually come with rain and tornadoes are usually outside of the rain. It’s inconclusive whether it was a downburst or tornado until there is further evidence.”

Moller said surveyers exam whether the storm damage was converging or diverging. Straight line winds give converging damage, while tornadoes produce diverging patterns.

As of 9 a.m. Saturday, 350 customers in the Neches area were without electricity, but by 6 p.m. it was 100 percent back on, according to TXU Electric Delivery spokesperson John Hardesty.

Anderson County Precinct 3 road crews and the Neches Volunteer Fire Department were on hand Saturday morning to clear the roadways.

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