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The swath of destruction was about a mile long and 200 yards wide,

May 28, 1997

The swath of destruction was about a mile long and 200 yards wide, officials said.

Jarrell, a town of less than 1,000 people, was largely destroyed by a tornado in 1989 that killed one, injured 28, and severely damaged or destroyed 35 homes and 12 mobile homes.

``This is worse,″ said Janine Brock, a lifelong resident. ``It’s going to be awful. They’re going to have to bury so many people.″

The violent storms killed at least two others elsewhere in the region Tuesday.

In Austin, one person was killed when a tornado destroyed two homes around Lake Travis, and a woman drowned in a creek during a storm, city spokesman Carlos Cordova said.

The storms began in Bell and McLennan counties, about 60 miles north of Jarrell, about 3:45 p.m. and moved into Williamson County just north of Austin.

``It was unbelievable,″ said Thomas Soliz, a Williamson County resident. ``You just look up and there it is.″

Interstate 35, the main north-south freeway in Central Texas, was closed around Jarrell.

Elsewhere in Williamson County, part of a grocery store’s roof was blown off in Cedar Park, causing the building to collapse. At least eight people were hurt and one was missing in the rubble, said county spokesman John Sneed.

Columbia-St. David’s Round Rock Hospital said it had received 14 tornado victims from Cedar Park, most suffering cuts and bruises.

A fast-food restaurant and a video store nearby also sustained heavy damage.

Outside Wendy’s, people watched the tornado in the parking lot ``until the funnel started coming through the sky _ then everyone panicked,″ said manager Ray Westphal.

``It looked about two inches tall at first. Then it started taking up the entire horizon. As it got closer, building tops were flying around,″ he said. ``It was picking cars right up into the air, flinging them everywhere.″

In Bell County, a tornado destroyed a marina and at least five boats. Several houses also were reported destroyed, but no injuries were confirmed.

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