NWS Releases Initial Assessment Of Tuesday's Storm Damage

WACO (February 12, 2009)-National Weather Service experts have released the results of their preliminary damage survey for several counties across Central Texas.

Investigators were checking damage in Coryell, Hamilton and Hill Counties Wednesday while residents began to clean up throughout the region after a night of fast-moving and destructive storms.

Coryell county
A CEFCO convenience store near the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and State Highway 36 in Gatesville suffered damage.

So far, the only reports of injuries in Central Texas came out of Coryell County

An employee at that CEFCO suffered minor abrasions when windows facing to the southwest were blown in by winds estimated to be near 60 mph

Also in Gatesville, a Coryell County Sheriff’s Deputy sustained corneal abrasions and minor lacerations when the passenger-side windows of his patrol car blew out.

Another sheriff’s deputy also suffered abrasions when the driver’s side windows of his patrol car blew out.

Hamilton County
There were multiple areas of damage across southern Hamilton County, primarily to outbuildings and power poles.

Winds of approximately 70 mph carried debris to the northeast in divergent patterns indicative of micro-bursts or straight-line winds.

A barn was severely damaged several miles southwest of the city of Hamilton.

In close proximity to that barn, a house lost much of the aluminum sheet metal from its roof and a large trailer on the property was blown over.

Another trailer near Hamilton municipal airport was moved off its moorings and blown 20 feet to the north.

Several miles south of the city of Hamilton, near Blue Ridge, a small outbuilding was destroyed; the resulting debris carried as far as a half mile to the northeast across FM 1241 and into a field.

Hill County
Significant wind damage occurred in Hill County as winds estimated to be near 80 mph whipped across the county carrying debris to the northeast.

At a youth retreat near the community of Huron, numerous outbuildings were damaged or destroyed.

The main permanent building suffered significant roof damage while support columns for its porch were dislodged or removed; an outdoor metal canopy immediately adjacent to the building was destroyed

Several trees on the property lost large limbs and two trees were uprooted.

Debris was strewn to the north as far as one half mile from the retreat.

Another area of focused damage was at a mobile home park east of Hillsboro where three trailers were upended, including one in which an elderly man lived. He escaped injury.

Numerous limbs were blown from trees near the trailer park.

Winds also ripped a house apart where five people were seeking shelter; the only undamaged portion of the home was the kitchen, which is where the five were.

The Red Cross is assisting trailer park residents.

Widespread damage attributed to Tuesday’s storm was reported in Waco, particularly in the area of North 25th Street and Gorman Avenue, along Austin and Franklin Avenues in the downtown area and around the Baylor University campus, in the area of University Parks Drive and Interstate 35.

A vacant restaurant lost its roof in the Ivy Square Center at Interstate 35 and University Parks Drive near the Baylor University campus.

Downed tree and debris covered a portion of University Parks.

The Island Condos near the Baylor campus were heavy damaged.

A witness said bricks littered the ground and said the exterior of the condos was “unrecognizable.”

The roof of Trautschold Millwork in the 1500 block of Franklin was “peeled back like a sardine can,” a witness said Wednesday.

Windows were blown out of the old Bird Kultgen Ford building on Franklin.

A patio roof at the Heart of Texas MHMR center at 12th and Austin was blown off and was found wrapped around a utility pole.

Windows also blew out of the building.

Windows were blown out of the Austin Arms apartment building at 13th and Austin.

A tree fell on Waco’s historic Earle-Napier-Kinnard House and knocked off a corner of the 150-year-old house’s roof.

Experts were assessing the damage Wednesday morning.

Waco’s First Baptist Church reported heavy damage to its activities building and storage barn.

The storm peeled back the roof of the activities center and water and dirt filled the gym.

A wood fence was also blown over.

Damage was reported at the Ridgewood Country Club, where a boat dock broke loose and struck another dock.

Tree branches covered a portion of Ridgewood Drive in Waco.

The corrugated metal roof of B&G Grocery blew off at North 25th St. and Gorman Avenue

Streets were closed in the area and power was out late Tuesday night.

Signs were down along Franklin Avenue between Valley Mills Drive and downtown Waco and firefighters were checking a report that a roof had caved in on a building on Franklin.

Waco police were also checking a report that the Mardi Gras motel at South Valley Mills Drive and the interstate lost its roof.

Traffic lights were either out or on flash throughout Waco.

Dime to pea size hail was reported in the Hewitt and Woodway areas.

Waco Damage Summary
(Source: City of Waco)

Street, Traffic and Parks crews were called out at about 10:30pm to respond to numerous streets being blocked by downed trees, downed power lines, and traffic signals out. Those crews worked throughout the night until 4:30am. Crews were back out at 6:30am.
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum lost one of the big Elm trees in front of the museum and the 1st Street Cemetery had 10-12 trees damaged or destroyed. Interestingly enough the large flag next to the big Elm was not damaged.
A tree was reported down at Indian Spring Park
The Fire Department responded to 35 calls for damage, reported downed power lines and etc that included the following locations:
CASA BONITA, 906 N 25th. Roof blown off.
AMBOLDS KEY& LOCK, 1125 Franklin. Windows blown out. roof damage.
OLD BIRD KULGEN FORD BLDG, 1500 Franklin. Windows blown out
SCHMIDTS, 2108 Franklin, Roof damage.
WACO AUTO GLASS, 11th & Franklin, Large sign blown over onto city traffic light.
TRAUTSCHOLD WOOD WORKS, 1415 Franklin, part of roof blown off.
FEDERAL FINANCIAL SERVICES, 728 Austin, Windows blown out.
VACANT BLDG, 9th & Austin, Rear garage door blown down.
BUILDING at 1125 Washington, Windows blown out.
L&A AUTO, Garage door blown off. 1300 Franklin.
MARDI GRAS MOTEL, 1901 S. Valley mills dr. Roof Damage and Roof Awning blown off Austin Arms Apt, 13th and Austin Ave; Windows blown out.
Solid Waste services brush trucks were working with Parks crews to load and carry off tree and other debris being cut and removed from streets.
By 2:30am Street crews had cleaned up glass and debris in the streets at:
*15th and Franklin
*12th and Washington
*100 block of Loop 340
*25th and Gorman

Other Damage Reports

Bell County
Although there were reports of 70 mile-per-hour winds in as the line of storms moved into Bell County there were not any reports of storm damage to residences or businesses.

Bosque County
A spokesperson from the Bosque County Sheriff’s Office said there were some power outages in the county but a have since been repaired.

Coryell County
Hail was reported in Oglesby while, in Gatesville, there were reports of roofs ripped off buildings, broken glass and downed trees and power lines:

*Typical wind damage through the county proper with 3 temporary road blockages due to tree limbs, and 2 due to utilities; all recovered by this morning. Episodic power outages were experienced by less than 25% of the county, again as of this morning all reported as recovered.
*At the fire department in Gatesville; 8 firefighter vehicles had windows blown in from the ferocity of the storm. No personnel injuries.
*Damage reports confined to a narrow corridor in Gatesville proper; extending from just north of the US84 and US36 intersection to just south of the Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department.
*Building damage sustained to the CEFCO #31 Convenience Store at 36/84 with glass blown in; and a co-located sheriff vehicle had the passenger windows blown in, despite being under overhead cover for the gust front. The deputy sustained corneal abrasions and minor lacerations; he was treated and released from Coryell Memorial Hospital. One employee of the store received minor abrasions from the glass of the store window as well, treated and released at the scene.
*Building damage just east of the intersection of US 84 and Business 36, a motorcycle repair store roof disintegrated onto Business 36; the Taco Bell Restaurant suffered sign damage; the Gatesville Fire Department sustained damage to two bay doors, one with glass loss, the second with bending of door and track. This area of Business 36 was where the second sheriff vehicle also received damage, with loss of the driver’s side windows. The deputy sustained some abrasions, treated and released after he returned to the Sheriff's Office.
*The gust front created power loss, also created a disruption in all public safety radio repeater operations except for EMS, for 15 minutes due to a switching issue on the generator control panel. It appears that this has been corrected, and will be tested again today. All remote operations engaged on EMS channel, all local traffic was handled on direct; and no delay or interruption in service or capability was noted.

Falls County
There were no reports of damage at the Falls County Sheriff’s Office however an 18-wheeler overturned on the interstate in the Bruceville-Eddy area.

Traffic was being diverted off the highway just before 10 p.m.

Hamilton County
Power was knocked out to much of Hamilton County during and immediately after the storm but has since bee restored.

A spokesman in the sheriff's office in Hamilton said high winds knocked some power lines down in the north central area of the county.

Hill County
High winds damaged trees and scattered debris in Hill County.

Police in Hillsboro say an RV rolled over while an elderly man was inside; he was not injured.

Police also reported downed trees and signs, scattered debris and a few power outages, all of which are fixed now.

Limestone County
The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office reported some power outages in the area; power had been restored by early Wednesday.

McLennan County
A spokesperson from the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office said there were widespread reports of debris and down trees along with reports of power outages. The spokesperson could not comment on the locations of the reported damage.

Milam County
There was short power outage in Milam County. The sheriff’s office in Cameron reported that a high winds had downed some trees. One power line was reported but has been repaired.

Navarro County
There were reports of downed tree limbs in Navarro County. A spokesperson for the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office said there were also two tree fires in connection with arcing power lines.

Robertson County
The Robertson County Sheriff’s Office reported a few downed trees throughout the county.

Other Storm Damaged Regions

A strong thunderstorm formed over Farmers Branch around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and was moving to the north at about 45 miles per hour.

A second strong thunderstorm was intensifying near Garland about the same time.

Storms downed power lines and damaged buildings Tuesday afternoon in Central Oklahoma.

Severe weather also caused damage and power outages in metro Oklahoma City and western Texas.

Tornado sirens were activated and television news video appeared to show a tornado and debris in the air in a rural area.

Schoolchildren were kept in locked-down schools.

Tuesday night, authorities reported 3 people dead and 20 to 50 injured in southern Oklahoma.

Hours later, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Michelann Ooten says the death toll in the town of Lone Grove rose to eight early Wednesday and 14 people sustained serious injuries.

Chester Agan, assistant emergency manager for Carter County, says structures have been damaged or destroyed throughout the town of about 4,600, located some 100 miles south of Oklahoma City.

Agan says search and rescue crews are combing through rubble to find victims

Oklahoma City fire officials reported damage to buildings in northwest Oklahoma with downed power lines trapping some motorists.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric spokesman Brian Alford said about 10,500 customers lost electrical service.

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