Tornado touches down in Brown County, reports of homes damaged

National Weather Service and local emergency management officials will likely spend the coming days surveying the damage caused by a tornado that touched down near May Thursday evening. The touchdown was confirmed by trained weather spotters, which triggered tornado warnings for May, Blanket, Sipe Springs and Sydney.

Initial post-tornado assessments show that there were reports of homes destroyed in the storm, but a full assessment of the damage has not been conducted. In the days ahead, investigators will determine the size of the tornado, and the path that it took.

The storm that spawned the tornado was part of a larger system that produced several confirmed funnel clouds, heavy rainfall, large hail, high winds, and caused flooding over much of northern Brown and Coleman Counties, as well as southern Callahan County. Six inches of rain were reported in some areas, with flash flooding occurring in low water crossings along parts of the Jim Ned Creek and the Pecan Bayou.

That water is expected to flow into Lake Brownwood, which is 1/4 of a foot below spillway. Brownwood will not experience flooding issues until the lake level reaches 3 1/2 feet above spillway.

More thunderstorms expected today

The National Weather Service in San Angelo predicts that more thunderstorms will move across the Brown County area this afternoon and evening, with the heaviest activity occurring east of a line stretching from Haskell, to Abilene, to Junction. Some of the thunderstorms could be severe. The main hazards will be damaging winds and hail.

The strongest thunderstorm activity will be to the north, with local storm activity contingent on the speed of a cold front that will be moving through the area this weekend. Current conditions and radar are available on our weather page.

Texas Economy Adds 30,400 Jobs in April

The Texas economy expanded in April with the addition of 30,400 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent.

“Texas employers continue to create jobs in the broad based Texas economy with ten of the 11 industries expanding over the year,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Andres Alcantar. “With the addition of 258,900 jobs over the past year, TWC remains committed to providing the services needed to get Texans back work.”

Employment in the Education and Health Services industry recorded the largest private-industry gain over the month with 10,400 jobs added. Manufacturing employment grew by 8,100 jobs in April and Professional and Business Services employment expanded by 7,400 jobs.

“This sustained increase in job creation provides more opportunities for Texas employers to expand, which helps increase opportunity for all Texans,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth Hughs. “TWC is committed to developing workforce programs that keep our businesses competitive and our growing talent pipeline a priority.”

The Amarillo Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) recorded the month’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.0 percent, followed by the Austin-Round Rock, College Station-Bryan and Lubbock MSAs with a rate of 3.2 percent. The Midland MSA registered a rate of 3.5 percent for April.

“Several Goods Producing industries are showing strength in Texas, including Manufacturing, which expanded by 8,100 jobs in April” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “Positive economic growth means continued employment opportunities for the expanding Texas labor force.”

 

Tornado touches down near May, reports of homes destroyed

National Weather Service and local emergency management officials will likely spend the coming days surveying the damage caused by a tornado that touched down near May Thursday evening. The touchdown was confirmed by trained weather spotters, which triggered tornado warnings for May, Blanket, Sipe Springs and Sydney.

Initial post-tornado assessments show that there were reports of homes destroyed in the storm, but a full assessment of the damage has not been conducted. In the days ahead, investigators will determine the size of the tornado, and the path that it took.

The storm that spawned the tornado was part of a larger system that produced several confirmed funnel clouds, heavy rainfall, large hail, high winds, and caused flooding over much of northern Brown and Coleman Counties, as well as southern Callahan County. Six inches of rain were reported in some areas, with flash flooding occurring in low water crossings along parts of the Jim Ned Creek and the Pecan Bayou.

That water is expected to flow into Lake Brownwood, which is 1/4 of a foot below spillway. Brownwood will not experience flooding issues until the lake level reaches 3 1/2 feet above spillway.

Funnel cloud spotted over northern Coleman County

Radar data showed rotation in a severe thunderstorm that moved across northern Coleman County Thursday evening, triggering tornado warnings that lasted for more than an hour. Spotters confirmed that a funnel cloud was present, but no touchdown was reported. Damage reports are unconfirmed at this time.

In addition to the tornado warnings, severe thunderstorms produced wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour and baseball-sized hail during a rampage that began in Runnels County, just northwest of Talpa, and continued across Novice, Silver Valley, Burkett, Cross Cut and Cross Plains.

Thunderstorm activity is possible through Friday in the Brown County area.

Early police reunite wandering toddler with family

A potentially tragic situation had a happy ending when Early police found the parents of a toddler who had wandered away from his babysitter’s home to the city park Wednesday evening. Early Police Chief David Mercer said the toddler was found by an alert family…

“The last family to leave the park just happened to see him by the playground,” Chief Mercer said. “The lights were out, and just the security lights were on. They said they barely noticed him.”

Chief Mercer said the department posted a picture of the child online, and were quickly contacted by the boy’s mother, who said she had left him with an adult relative.

International Museum Day observed by local museums

The Lehnis Railroad Museum and the Brown County Museum of History will observe International Museum Day by offering free admission to their exhibits Saturday. The Lehnis Railroad Museum will have an exhibit on the Transcontinental Railroad while the history museum will have an exhibit on Native American life. The history museum is located in the historic jail caddy-cornered from the Brown County Courthouse. The Lehnis Railroad Museum is located across the street from the Depot Center.

Brownwood Art Association elects new officers

The Membership has voted and this is the list of NEW BAA Officers for 2017-2018.

Congratulations to our NEW and returning Officers.

 

President – Jim Blake

1st Vice President – Gayle Ritchey

2nd Vice President (Program Chair) – OPEN

3rd Vice President (Exhibits) – OPEN

Treasurer – Sharon Cook

Secretary – Patton McClatchey

Reporter/Publicity – OPEN

Parliamentarian – Craig Seger

Auditor – Judy Krksey

 

They will take office June 1, 2017.

contributed by Fred Spencer.

TxDOT to kick off “Click It or Ticket” in Brownwood

The Texas Department of Transportation’s Brownwood District is kicking off the “Click It or Ticket” seat belt campaign.

This month marks the 15th anniversary of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign urging Texans to buckle up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that since its inception 15 years ago, our life-saving campaign has resulted in 5,068 fewer traffic fatalities. However, from 2015 to 2016, deaths among people not wearing seat belts increased 9 percent.

“Wearing a seat belt is the single most important step you can take to protect yourself in a crash, and in Texas it’s the law,” said Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director James Bass. “People make a lot of excuses for not buckling up, but those excuses will not save your life or prevent you from getting a ticket. The fact is, it only takes a few seconds to buckle up and it could mean the difference between life and death.”

According to NHTSA, since its inception 15 years ago, the Texas “Click It or Ticket” campaign has not only saved thousands of lives but also prevented more than 86,000 serious injuries and saved Texas more than $19.3 billion in related economic costs. When the “Click It or Ticket” campaign launched in 2002, only 76 percent of Texans used their seat belts. Today, nearly 92 percent buckle up, but 8 percent still don’t and the number of people who don’t buckle up doubles to 16 percent at night.

In 2016, 994 people died because they weren’t wearing seat belts – an increase of 9 percent over the 908 unbelted fatalities recorded in 2015.

Wearing a seat belt helps keep occupants from being ejected in a crash and increases the chances of surviving by 45 percent in a car, and up to 60 percent in a truck. In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than 8 years must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they’re taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If they aren’t properly restrained, the driver faces fines up to $250 plus court costs.

Along with TxDOT’s annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign effort, police departments in Texas and across the nation will step up their enforcement efforts from May 22 to June 4.

To learn more about “Click It or Ticket,” visit texasclickitorticket.com.

TxDOT’s Brownwood District includes Brown, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Lampasas, McCulloch, Mills, San Saba and Stephens counties.

Beck: Early High School Girls’ Athletics Doing Well

The Early Lady Horns athletic program amassed two district championship trophies, and almost won district in track.

“The girls’ program is really doing well. We have some really great girls who are really working hard and are really dedicated to what they do,” said Early ISD Superintendent Wes Beck.

The Early Lady Horns won district in basketball and softball, and made it three rounds deep in the state softball playoffs. Two Lady Horns medalled at the state track meet.