COUNTY OF ROBERTSON, Tex. (KBTX) – A curfew is in effect in Franklin from 20h. – Saturday night, at 7 o'clock in the morning, after being hit by a tornado on Saturday morning.
Officials said Saturday night that more than 20 homes had been totally destroyed and many residents had to be evacuated from their homes by first responders.
Franklin Police Chief Terry Thibodeaux said the damage from the storm was "hard to describe" and looked like an explosion.
County Judge Charles Ellison said that about half of Franklin's south side was "totally destroyed."
The Robertson County Sheriff's Office stated that the most affected area was a six-block radius south of Highway 79 from FM 46 to Calvert Street. South FM 46 remains closed, as are several streets in the city, from Owensville Street West to Calvert Street. In the city, first responders still struggle with power lines that have broken down. The city of Franklin is currently undergoing a boil water advisory.
CHI St. Joseph officials reported receiving three people injured by the storm. All injuries were significant, but the patients are in stable condition. Robertson County officials said seven more people had been registered at a triage center at the Franklin Methodist Church, but all had refused further medical treatment.
Mayor Pro Tem Ferman Richard said the people were "really blessed to Franklin", citing the small number of people injured as a result of the violent storm. At a press conference, he said the tornado felt "like a freight train going through" when it hit the city.
The storms have caused power outages in the area, many of which are expected to last all night and could last until Sunday. At 6 pm, more than 9,000 Entergy customers were without electricity in the Brazos Valley. Entergy said the crews were currently locating and evaluating the damage to restore power, but dozens of utility poles were down, along with cables and trees. The company had no estimate of when electricity could be restored. Entergy said the majority of the damage occurred in the Madisonville, Calvert, Huntsville and Trinity areas. The company is asking customers to immediately report fallen power lines at 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749). A link to the Entergy interactive interrupt map can be found in the related links section of this story.
The Robertson County Sheriff's Office is asking Franklin residents who can not access their homes to go to the First Baptist Church in Franklin. If you are trying to access your home and the power lines are cut, please contact the Sheriff's Office at 979-828-3299 and tell them your location. Residents who need access to closed streets for treatment or other important items can contact the Robertson County Sheriff's Office.
Law enforcement forces ask people to avoid the city until further notice as residents begin to clean up. Individuals who attempt to verify their loved ones can call the Franklin Pridgion Center at (979) 828-3276. Injured residents were being treated at the Franklin Methodist Church.
An update on the progress of the city is expected around 7am to 8am Sunday morning. Officials said the public works building, garbage trucks and equipment were damaged and that city services would be assessed from Sunday morning.
"We need all possible help," said Judge Charles Ellison.
Donations of disaster relief supplies will be accepted at the First Baptist Church in Franklin, which will also accommodate families who lost their homes during the storm in their youth center.