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Greenville Damage Caused By Winds Not Tornado, Weather Service Says

Mark Haslett / KETR
A few buildings along Lee Street east of downtown Greenville suffered major damage.

A severe storm in Greenville on Wednesday, which local officials reported as a tornado, was in fact straight-line winds, according to the National Weather Service.  Storms struck the city in Hunt County, causing widespread tree and roof damage. 

Hunt County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jeff Haines told KETR that a few minor injuries had been reported as a result of the storm, but that no major injuries had been reported. Haynes emphasized that law enforcement officers were still engaged in the first stages of disaster response, and that assessment of the situation remained ongoing.

The weather service stated on Twitter today,  "Our team found that damage was caused by straight-line winds (likely a powerful rear-flank downdraft)." Investigators determined that peak winds reached  85 mph.

The Herald-Banner of Greenville reports on Facebook that spotters reported two tornadoes touched down north of the city and headed toward the city. Photographs posted on the page showed widespread roof debris in the streets of downtown Greenville and hanging from utility lines. They also showed large trees either shattered or uprooted.

The National Weather Service is still investigating the other reports from Hunt County.

Other parts of Hunt County, including Merit and Celeste, also received damage from the same storm system. The National Weather Service reported during the event that baseball-sized hail had been reported from the storm, which developed into a severe system in eastern Collin County, then pelted the northern flank of Hunt County before dipping southeasterly through Greenville and Campbell and into Hopkins and Rains counties.

Greenville is home to about 29,000 residents about 45 miles northeast of Dallas.