Thursday, July 10, 2014

At least 6 killed, 50 injured by severe Texas twister

Storm ravages suburb consisting of many Habitat for Humanity-built homes.

May 16. 2013 11:48PM

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GRANBURY, Texas — Habitat for Humanity spent years in a North Texas suburb, helping build many of the 110 homes in the low-income area. But its work was largely undone during an outbreak of 10 tornadoes Wednesday night that killed six people and injured dozens.

On Thursday, authorities combed through debris in Granbury for another roughly half-dozen still missing, while residents awaited the chance to see what was left of their homes. Witnesses described the two badly hit neighborhoods as unrecognizable, with homes ripped from foundations and others merely rubble.

The National Weather Service’s preliminary estimate was that the Granbury tornado had wind speeds between 166 mph and 200 mph. Other tornadoes spawned from the violent spring storm damaged nearby Cleburne and Millsap.

The weather service said the preliminary storm estimate for the Granbury tornado was an EF-4, based on the Fujita tornado damage scale. An EF-5 is the most severe.

Of the 110 homes there, 61 of them were built over the years by Habitat for Humanity, said Gage Yeager, executive director of Trinity Habitat for Humanity in Fort Worth. Yeager said Thursday afternoon that 14 of the Habitat homes were destroyed, 58 damaged and three appeared undamaged.

Habitat for Humanity volunteer Bill Jackson said the Habitat homes, built primarily for low-income people, were insured and can be rebuilt, he said.

But that doesn’t alleviate the pain felt by fellow volunteer Elsie Tallant, who helped serve lunch every weekend to those building the homes and those who were going to move in. “I tell you, it has just broken my heart,” she said, noting she’d gotten to know the people who had waited for years to become homeowners. “We were going to dedicate a house this weekend, and her home was destroyed.”

Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said Thursday afternoon that two of the dead were women and four of them men; one man and one woman in their 80s.

Earlier Thursday, about 20,000 homes and businesses in the region were without power.

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