ALTO, TX (KTRE) - A meteorologist with the National Weather Service was able to confirm that the storm damage from Friday night was caused by an EF2 tornado.
According to NWS an EF2 tornado hit the community off County Road 2807, just east of FM 220 S.
Initially, meteorologist Cynthia Palmer said wind speeds averaged at least 105 miles per hour, but she has evidence they may have reached up to 115 miles per hour.
"We've seen a lot of damage, mostly relating to snapped and uprooted trees," Palmer said. "There have been several homes damaged. Some have lost roofs and other out buildings destroyed."
According to NWS meteorologist assessment the EF2 tornado hit at 7:33 p.m. and damaged over 27 homes with two homes losing the roofs. The tornado also destroyed two travel trailers.
At least 7 tornadoes hit the East Texas area on Friday, including an EF2 tornado in Lindale.
"This is a pretty active system," Palmer said. "We are up to five tornadoes, and we still have other areas we have not been to yet."
Officials in Cherokee County have declared a state of disaster in the wake of the violent storms that tore through Deep East Texas on April 29.
According to the declaration issued on the same day, the state of disaster will continue for a period of no more than seven days. The declaration stated that Cherokee County "suffered widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property" as a result of flooding and high winds.
The declaration also stated that the county's Emergency Management Plan has been implemented.
The National Weather Service also said an EF1 tornado hit near Reklaw, northeast of Cherokee County. They add it was part of the same storm complex which produced the EF2 tornado in Alto Friday night. According to NSW meteorologist, this storm lifted a cluster of new chicken coops before lifting.
"It's hard," Judge Chris Davis said. "You know the people and every home, and it is just really heartbreaking to see them with so much damage. With homes destroyed that wont be livable."
Davis said crews have been working around the clock to make sure residents are getting their services back on.
"These guys have been great," Davis said. "We have the state out here and the electric co-op, but we also have private companies and regular citizens just going out with chainsaws to make sure people get the help they need."