EF-1 tornado, severe overnight storms destroy several homes and businesses in Katy

Wednesday, April 10, 2024
EF-1 tornado, severe storms destroy businesses, homes in Katy
Several homes and businesses are picking up the pieces after severe storms and an EF-1 tornado ripped through the Katy area overnight.

KATY, Texas (KTRK) -- Several homes and businesses are picking up the pieces after severe storms ripped through the Katy area overnight, causing extreme damage.

The National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday morning the damage was caused by an EF-1 tornado that had 90-mile-per-hour winds.

ABC13 spotted the damage at a shopping plaza on South Mason Road, just past Kingsland Boulevard.

A Firestone Complete Auto Care in the plaza collapsed, leaving the business nearly unrecognizable.

You can see footage of the storm damage in the video player above.

Debris, including tires, was scattered all across the parking lot. The business's sign was shredded and leaning all the way over to one side. Several cars in the parking lot were damaged in the chaos.

ABC13 spoke to the employees of Bourbon Street Sports Bar, another business in the plaza.

The front of the sports bar was torn away, and the windows were smashed. An A.C. unit that was once inside was ripped out into the parking lot by the wind.

"It was like a rumble. You could hear it. It was picking up, and it just kept increasing. That's what really scared us - you could start hearing, basically, the building shake. At that point, we were all like, 'Get in the back,'" employee Kevin Davis said.

RELATED: Damage in parts of Galveston Co. was consistent with straight-line winds up to 75 mph, NWS finds

The National Weather Service said it will conduct a storm survey in parts of Galveston County and the Katy area after severe storms overnight.

Davis said they were wrapping up, about to close, when they started to hear the high winds around 2:15 or 2:20 a.m. He said the high winds only lasted about 20 seconds, but that was more than enough time to cause some serious damage.

"Thankfully, all of us made it to the back in time. And there wasn't anybody out front," Davis said. "We actually had some patrons in a vehicle out front. They said they could not even see Firestone collapse until it had moved past."

ABC13 video captured a smashed taco truck on its side in the plaza parking lot. It was reportedly parked at the end of the road, and the high winds carried it to the lot.

Emergency crews responded to the scene and taped off the area. CenterPoint Energy turned the electricity off in the area out of precaution.

In a nearby neighborhood, residents also found themselves cleaning up debris, downed trees, and damaged property.

Mary Yeater was called to the neighborhood by a resident with hopes of rehabbing injured baby squirrels.

"With these high winds, it blows the nests out of the trees," Yeater said. "This is the first call I got. I'm sure I'm going to get many more."

That first call came from Caroline Herrington, whose porch and gazebo were destroyed.

"It was awful," Herrington told ABC13. "I thought part of the roof was going to come off. It was insane and the Firestone sign is in their yard."

That Firestone sign traveled three-quarters of a mile, blown from that strip center that took the direct hit from the storm. The winds were as strong as 90 miles per hour.

"Most of the stuff is blown east to west," National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Evans said. "But there is stuff behind us here where an air conditioning unit and some of the roofing actually blew from north to south."