Strong storms pound Cleveland

March 28, 2009 5:52:07 AM PDT
Friday's bad weather left its mark on Cleveland. Winds gusting at 100 miles per hour blew into town and had residents running for cover. [PHOTOS: See images from the storms's path]

Winds ripped the roof off Kristin Kelley's physical therapy clinic.

"The rain really started going sideways," said Kelley. "This tree was really bent over."

That sight was enough for Kelley and six others to take shelter in a room. As they did, 100 mile per hour wind gusts tossed their roof over to the next block in front of the Cleveland Regional Medical Center.

As the roof was coming down, Kenneth Cooper, who was walking across the street, bolted for a safe place.

"I just hunkered down against that right there," he said, showing us the spot to which he ran. "I was afraid I was going to get sucked out. It was a pretty powerful wind."

A few miles away, a utility pole cracked the roof of a pickup, downed trees and even made some roads impassable. And large hail bombarded drivers on the way home.

"It was like a baseball hit my windshield," said storm victim Dorothy Cooper. "Glass came all over us and then it just kept hitting."

Cleveland police say the brunt of the storm struck the heart of the city.

"We had roof damages on several businesses. We also had an 18-wheeler blown over onto the Western Union tracks that had to be removed," said Captain Darrel Broussard with the Cleveland Police Department.

Now the cleanup begins in many spots, including Kelley's Clinic. But it's not the first time for her.

"In the building we had been in previously, Hurricane Ike took the roof off of that building," she said.

Cleveland Regional Medical Center went on backup power during and after the storm and never had an interruption in service.

Damage at Hobby

Southwest Airlines had 11 planes damaged by Friday's hail at Hobby Airport. One plane was taken out of service. Since the storm passed, the airline and all flights from Houston, are back to normal.

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