Severe weather rolls through SE Texas

April 20, 2012 8:22:06 PM PDT
High winds, heavy rain and hail -- the strong storms that blew through the Houston area on Friday had it all and left behind some damage.

The ABC13 Weather Team says the line of storms produced up to 50 miles per hours wind, which was strong enough to knock down some trees around town. Pea-sized hail also fell down in several parts of our viewing area, including Texas City and La Marque.

That storm only stuck around for a few minutes, but many people across our area -- especially those who got stuck in it -- say that wind and rain packed a powerful punch.

As the line of storms rolled across the area, heavy rain had people running for cover, and whipping winds took many folks by surprise.

"It went from nothing to windy. It was pretty quick, came up out of nowhere," witness Paige Downy Hemphill said.

As the rain and hail pelted pavements, the storm's impact sent trees tumbling outside Dennis Marshman's house, causing major damage.

"All the sudden, the wind got really heavy and started really whipping the trees around, and I heard this crackling like a big thing of thunder and lightening. And I looked out of back window here, and the tree just shattered and fell on the car," Marshman said.

It was a similar scene across town on Blodgett, where city crews helped neighbors remove two large trees that toppled across the street.

"It just went woosh. Fortunately, it didn't hit any cars. It landed between two cars that park right there," Kevin Hall, who was cleaning up after the storm.

There was no mistaking the intensity of the storm as it pummeled downtown Houston. It unleashed dangerous winds, blowing up to 60 miles an hour. Looking outside from the Criminal Justice Center, it looked as though the rain was coming down sideways.

"It seemed to me it was a pre-hurricane warning. That's what it seems," witness Sammy Johnson said.

The storm's fury hit right before the afternoon rush hour. About 50 people took shelter in the lobby as the winds outside howled. At the height of the storm the winds were so fierce, they blew open those heavy glass doors in the lobby and it took several people to hold them shut.

The damage and danger from downed power lines also had police blocking some roads.

Public works crews say they've been busy with about 70 down tree calls like this across the city. They say many of these trees were already rotten due to drought.

And some drivers say the storm's gusty winds were too much to tackle at times. Elizabeth Kaplan called it a scary moment when wind began whipping her car around.

"Tree branches were coming and my car was actually moved, probably about 4 feet," Kaplan said.

City crews say they will be out all night cleaning up damage from the storm. If you notice some damage that needs attention on your street, you can report that to the city of Houston Public Works Department by calling 3-1-1.


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