At least three tornadoes swept over Anderson County Friday night, leaving behind a tangle of downed trees, severed power lines, and flooded creeks and bar ditches, but no reports of injuries.

Two more possible tornadoes were unconfirmed as of 9:30 p.m. Friday, according to interim Anderson County emergency management coordinator Schelby Wells.

The three confirmed tornadoes were at Bradford, Broyles Chapel and Tennessee Colony around FM 321, Wells said, adding that the unconfirmed reports came from the FM 1990-Texas 294 area and around ACR 403 and 404.

“It doesn’t mean that they absolutely touched the ground,” Wells said. “It was a confirmed sighting. For instance, the one at Bradford, a DPS trooper and a volunteer fireman saw the tail coming down out of the clouds.

“I don’t know that we’ve had any reports of one actually tearing a path on the ground. I think we probably would have had a lot more damage had one traveled any great distance at all on the ground.”

Damage reports came in from southern parts of the county northward to the Henderson County line, Wells said, including a report from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Coffield Unit of roof and carport damage to the officers’ housing.

“Right now, we’re getting a lot of reports of damage on (county roads) 404 and 403,” Wells said. “We’re hearing about several homes with structural damage on 294 and 1990. As I’ve said, the judge and I have not been out and looked at these areas ourselves. We’re hearing about trees on roofs, roofs taken off and such as that.”

Law enforcement and county work crews began to respond as calls flooded the dispatchers. The Anderson County commissioners and their precinct road crews, crews from the Texas Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety officers teamed with Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies and volunteer firefighters to cut and remove fallen trees from the roadways, Wells said.

Brenda Walker of TXU Energy said that TXU crews were out working to get lines repaired around the county. At the height of the storms, she said, approximately 1,700 customers were without power.

“We have scattered outages as a result of the wind and broken poles,” Walker said. “It’s like many other storms that blow through like this.”

As for the extent of the damage, daylight will tell the tale.

“We’re clearing damage and really, the assessing portion is not going to start until (this) morning,” Wells said. “Daylight will tell us a lot.”

Friday’s storms marked the first county emergency for newly elected Anderson County Judge Linda Bostick Ray.

Ray defeated longtime county judge Carey McKinney in the Democratic primary, then held off challenges from Republican candidate Susan Perryman-Evans and independent candidate and Precinct 2 commissioner Darrell Emanuel to win the general election in November. She was sworn into office on Nov. 22 after McKinney resigned shortly after the Nov. 7 election.

Had McKinney remained in office through the end of his elected term, Ray would have been officially sworn in on Monday.

“Judge Ray has been wonderful,” said Wells, who has worked in the county’s emergency management office since 2004 and has acted as interim coordinator since Gary Thomas became Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace on Nov. 22, moving into Ray’s prior office. “She has worked with DPS, sheriff’s department, volunteer fire departments and our amateur radio here in Anderson County.”

Being surrounded by experienced, trained personnel made the difference, Ray said.

“It’s been a learning experience,” Ray said. “Schelby’s helped. She’s made it very easy.”

Following an afternoon of intermittent downpours, the weather turned nasty around 5:30 p.m. when strong thunderstorm cells began crossing the county.

National Weather Service radar estimates indicated that northern parts of Anderson County received between 2 1/2 and 3 inches of rain, with 1 1/2 to 2 inches in the western and southwestern areas, tapering off to between a half inch and an inch in the eastern and southeastern sections.

Dan Shoemaker, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Fort Worth, said Friday night that meteorologists in his office had seen radar evidence of tornadic winds over the county.

“We saw some signatures with two or three different thunderstorms,” Shoemaker said.

The trigger was a strong upper level low over New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle which drew moisture from the Gulf of Mexico northward over East and Central Texas.

“A strong southeast flow brought moisture up from the Gulf to work with,” Shoemaker said. “The upper level system over West Texas provided support for lift and directional shear.

“It’s like an ice skater,” he added. “Once the spin gets going, it tightens up.”