Officials confirm EF2 tornado strike in Copperas Cove
By BRITTANY FHOLER AND LYNETTE SOWELL
After Sunday's storms, Copperas Cove residents began to clean up the aftermath that damaged nearly 200 homes, with three being deemed uninhabitale, wit National Weather Service officials confirming the dsstruction was caused by an EF2 tornado.
There were no injuries, but on Sunday evening and Monday morning, residents and cleanup volunteers as well as first responders found themsles facing the traffic of onlookers driving through neighborhoods to take photos.
The owners of the house at 3811 Big Divide Road survived the storm by taking shelter in their bathtub, according to family friends. The friends, who did not give their name, said that the thing people most affected the storm need the most is time to process the damage. They added that there were a lot of people driving past and being nosy about the damage, as well as different roofing and abatement companies already looking to drum up business. One company showed up before the sun came up, they said.
Over on Logsdon Street, leaves, branches and roof shingles litter the road and yards, while blue tarps cover the roofs of several houses. For some homes, the damage seems to be minor, but at 3231 Logsdon Street, the damage is extensive both inside and out.
Homeowners Marc and Rebecca Williams are devastated over the damage to the house that they moved into back in December. Both were home Sunday evening with their two Pomeranians when the storm hit.
Rebecca shared her feelings about the aftermath of the storm and showed the extent of the damage inside the house.
“It was just devastating,” Williams said. “I mean, there was no warning, there was no nothing. Absolutely nothing. No warning at all.”
Outside, the damage is spread out across the front and back yard. Walking up to the Williams’ house, roof shingles litter the front yard and fences are downed on both sides. In the backyard, patio furniture and large potted plants are sunken to the bottom of their inground pool. The chimney was ripped off the roof and lays in the backyard, near the back patio. What was once a small two-story barn in the back corner of the yard is now just the slab and debris.
“The inside of the house is even worse,” Williams said. “We’ve got ceilings down. I mean, the house can’t even be lived in right now.”
Inside the house, Marc’s “man-cave” and the neighboring office and the hallway are filled with insulation and debris from the ceiling. On Monday morning, blue sky could be seen through the now open sections of the ceiling and roof.
“You can see where it cracked the sheetrock, it was coming in,” Williams added as she showed the master bedroom. “The water was coming in. We were lucky to save, to have what we have and to just pray that they get out here to get everything buttoned down before something else, you know, more water is taken on.”
Williams said they experienced a tornado years ago in Kentucky, but the damage was not to this extent.
When asked if she was in need of any donated items or anything, Williams said she didn’t need anything.
Outside, neighbors helped neighbors. Other Covites joined in helping pick up the debris as well, including Nancy Zimmer-Clark, Brandy Petty, her children and others.
Petty said she lives over by Clements/Parsons Elementary but heard about Logsdon Street needing helping hands through Clark and decided to bring her children out to help Monday morning.
“I heard there was a lot of congestion around here, so I didn’t really want to come [yesterday], and then this morning, when Nancy called and said, ‘Hey, come to this street number,’ I was like, ‘Okay, that’s a specific house. We’ll go,’” Petty said. “So, my kids and I loaded up some buckets, a cart, some water and came straight out here to help because you know, it’s the least that we could do, right?”
The adults collected the salvageable items while the younger helpers picked up shingles and wood in the yard.
Along with volunteers, businesses have stepped up, with HomeBase of Copperas Cove reopening on Sunday evening, staying open until 10 p.m., for area residents needing supplies immediately in the storm’s aftermath. On Monday, Raising Cane’s showed up to the neighborhood to provide meals during the cleanup process, with RNC Construction showing up with chain saws and other equipment for residents to use during the cleanup process.
Tom Bradshaw Meteorologist in Charge at the Fort Worth Office of the National Weather Service determined that the storm had peak wind speeds of approximately 115 miles per hour.
The path of the tornado stretched almost one mile in length with damage noted to homes and property on either side of the path.
“We have been inundated with offers for assistance, donations and other support,” Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young stated in a Monday afternoon press release. “Right now we do not have any needs for volunteers or any donations. Please feel free to pass along thoughts, prayers and positive words to all who have been involved.”