Wylie took some of worst blows

Several houses sustain roof, window damage; flooding hits N. Texas

 

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, April 1, 2007 /By JAY PARSONS and JENNI BEAUCHAMP

The Dallas Morning News


Staff Writers Tanya Eiserer and Jon Nielsen contributed to this report


 

WYLIE – After the vicious nighttime storms had passed, Dawn Parrott of Wylie walked outside and noticed that her back yard just got a whole lot bigger. The winds had knocked down all the fences in sight, and one wood fence piece had pierced her roof.

 

"Hey, we could make a football field out here," Mrs. Parrott joked Saturday as she cleared debris from her property. "We should just leave it open."

 

Some of the most extensive damage from Friday night's storms could be seen along Mrs. Parrott's block on Country Walk Lane, which was lined Saturday with the cars of friends and volunteers.

 

Winds tore off roofs, shattered windows and hurled a parked car 45 feet.

 

The enormous storms also caused flooding across North Texas and more than 200 cancellations at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

 

No serious injuries were reported.

 

More than 2 inches of rain fell at the airport – where the official gauges for the area are kept – on Friday and early Saturday.

 

But other areas of North Texas recorded much more.

 

There was plenty of room in this Wylie neighborhood Saturday after Friday night's storms took down most of the fences. They also took off several roofs. Neighbors reported sighting funnel clouds, but the National Weather Service didn't record a tornado in the area.


In Parker County, officials estimated that at least 50 homes were flooded or in danger of flooding.

 

The National Weather Service in Fort Worth extended a flood warning for the Trinity River until Monday evening.

 

The river was above 30 feet on Saturday and was expected to reach 36 feet in the Dallas area before receding.

 

Flooding along the river forced the Sylvan Avenue bridge to close, and it remained closed late Saturday.

 

And in Ellis County, the greens at Waxahachie Country Club became a murky lake after two days of rain.

 

 

 

Ron Williams  Emergency Response Team on site of the Wylie Tornado


Nearby homes weren't damaged, but the golf course closed Saturday.

 

Elsewhere in Ellis County, several farm roads closed because of high water.

 

 "It is deep and dangerous," said Hank Campbell, a maintenance supervisor with the Texas Department of

Transportation.

 

"I don't know how long it is going to take for the water to recede, but I think it may be sometime" today.

 

As daylight broke Saturday, it appeared that Wylie may have suffered the brunt of the storms' wrath, with 51 damaged homes in new subdivisions west of FM1378. Five families were displaced. Some residents told authorities that they saw funnel clouds, but the National Weather Service didn't record a tornado in the area.

 

"In that kind of situation, the damage could be from strong straight-line winds, but you can't rule out spin-ups – a small, brief tornado – along the leading edge of the thunderstorm," weather service forecaster Bill Bunting said.

 

Mr. Bunting said the highest wind speed readings measured close to 60 mph, but the gusts in Wylie were probably stronger.

 

"It sounded like a blower in a carwash," said John Chapman, one of the Parrotts' neighbors. "I could hear the windows shaking. I grabbed the cat, ran into the center of the house, and by the time we got there, it was over."

 

Mrs. Parrott's husband, Dwayne, said their rocky night came and went quickly.

"We were finishing dinner and I saw the reflection in the windows bouncing, and when it finally broke, it was an explosion, basically," Mr. Parrott said. "The front window broke, and we ran into the hallway and it was over."

 

They thought the windows were the only damage. But a few minutes later, Mr. Chapman came by.

 

"You know your roof is gone, right?" Mrs. Parrott recalled Mr. Chapman saying.

 

"And we said, 'What?' " Mrs. Parrott said.

 

A 25-foot-wide hole allowed enough water inside to destroy much of the home's drywall.

 

"If we're living here in a month, I'd be very surprised," Mr. Parrott said. "But we have some really good neighbors pitching in."

 

In south Parker County, along the banks of the Brazos River, rising water Saturday forced dozens of residents out of their tiny homes in an unincorporated area known as Horseshoe Bend. Many of the homes are travel trailers used as weekend getaways.

 

Sheriff's deputies and other county workers were pitching in to help residents move the trailers and other belongings. County jail prisoners helped round up animals.

 

Officials said the river had risen at least 5 ½ feet by Saturday afternoon, and it was expected to rise another foot and a half to about 25 feet.

 

Josh Hernandez and his wife moved into their 500-square-foot home about a month ago, and he said he'd just gotten done remodeling the bathroom. On Saturday, floodwaters had reached his home. But he was taking it all in stride.

 

"That's the price you pay for living in a flood zone," said Mr. Hernandez, whose primary home is near Austin. "You know what you're getting into."

 

The Red Cross said it was providing shelter for five families in Haltom City, but a handful of other displaced families in Collin, Ellis and Tarrant counties found other places to stay.

 

TXU reported that 1,700 homes and businesses in the area lost power, mostly in Dallas. A spokeswoman said most should have power restored by today.

 

Forecaster Greg Patrick with the National Weather Service predicted sunny skies through Monday with high temperatures for today and Monday in the low 80s.

 

"The next chance for rain could be Tuesday, with a 20 percent chance," Mr. Patrick said, "but it doesn't look like we are going to see any more big rainmakers."

 

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