Copperas Cove: Mayor issues disaster declaration after damaging tornado

A map of the affected area. (City of Copperas Cove)
A map of the affected area. (City of Copperas Cove)(KWTX)
Published: Jun. 9, 2019 at 8:52 PM CDT
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Copperas Cove Mayor Bradi Diaz issued a disaster declaration Wednesday, three days after an EF-2 tornado that damaged nearly 200 homes in neighborhoods along Big Divide Road.

The proclamation, which is effective immediately, declares a disaster for the area of the city affected by the tornado, implements the city’s Emergency Management Plan, and will remain in force for no more than seven days unless the Copperas Cove City Council votes to extend it.

Residents of the affected areas may place brush and bulk debris at the curbside for pickup.

Collection fees will be waived through June 17 for homes in the affected areas.

The National Weather Service confirmed Monday that an EF-2 tornado hit the city Sunday afternoon.

The 500-yard-wide tornado with peak winds of about 115 miles per hour touched down at 5:24 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of Grimes Crossing Road and Big Divide Road three miles west-northwest of Copperas Cove and traveled almost 1.6 miles before dissipating at 5:28 p.m. two miles west of Copperas Cove, the NWS report says.

The tornado moved to the south-southeast, “producing significant shingle, tree and ancillary structural damage to numerous residences in the neighborhoods straddling Big Divide Road,” the report says.

The tornado stripped portions of the roofs off of several homes and uprooted several large trees, the report says.

Most of the damage along the tornado’s path was consistent with EF-0 or EF-1 intensity winds and the tornado contracted to about 100 yards in width before it moved up a wooded hillside and dissipated near the intersection of Veterans Avenue and Stewart Street, the report said.

The same supercell thunderstorm that produced the tornado also caused structural damage near Kempner in Lampasas County, likely from straight-line winds.

There were no reports of injuries.

Two local home products stores were doing a brisk business Monday in the wake of the tornado.

HomeBase Texas Home Improvement Warehouse at 804 East Business 190 re-opened after the storm Sunday night.

“Watching the neighbors help neighbors that's what I think made us make the call to say hey let's open the store back up,” store manager Robert Siling said.

“I called the police department right off the bat to say let your people know that if they come across anybody that needs something or re-opening the store,” Siling said.

The Keith Ace Hardware store at 102 South 1st St. also opened for business, despite some roof damage from the storm that left lumber supplies exposed.

The storm Sunday downed power lines, trees, and produced hail in some areas.

Trees were reported down on Bellmead Drive in Bellmead and in some residential neighborhoods.

In Groesbeck, the police department reported the metal roof of the Groesbeck Independent School District Care Academy building on South Ellis Street was blown off by strong winds, but that underlying roof was still intact.

After the storms, Oncor had between 3,000 and 5,000 customers without power.

About 7,000 Hamilton Power Co. customers were also without power.

By Monday afternoon, the number was down to fewer than 275 customers of the Hamilton Power Company and fewer than 150 Oncor customers.

For those in need for some assistance, UHaul is offering 30 days of free self-storage for residents of Copperas Cove and the surrounding area.

The Copperas Cove Fire Department says it will help connect residents with hauling services, but does not have the equipment to remove debris.