LIVINGSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Gordon Pyle and his friend sensed trouble when the rain began to pour Saturday afternoon in Livingston. The two had been fishing on a pond below his family's home atop the hill above.
A few minutes later, on the back patio, he began recording cell phone video.
"A tornado's about to start," he is heard saying.
On cue, it did.
The twister formed and followed the tree line along the hill, then hovered over the pond, creating a whirlwind of water and mist. Nearly vanishing, it reformed on the bank of the pond and headed south.
In its path was W&W Self Storage on Highway 190. Minutes later, a large metal building was missing several sides and a roof. Storage units inside were exposed and soaked by rain. The twister hit at a couple of minutes after 4 p.m.
Brett Foisie and his family had just moved back to Texas, bringing with them all they owned, and much of it was in the building.
"My life is in there," he said as he hurried to salvage what he could. It is also his family's business, which he helps manage.
"We've put a lot of money and renovation into this over the last year," he said. More than that, his customers are people he knows, including friends and neighbors.
PHOTOS: Storm damage and severe weather photos from around the Houston area
That includes Gina Beacher, a single mom who's also a police dispatcher.
"I was on my way to work this afternoon, and I was going to take food to my boys," as she describes her co-workers. "I saw the storage units, and I stopped."
By early evening, she had yet to make it to work.
Inside her unit was furniture and a lot of pictures of her children, things she stored for safe-keeping and for room.
"They're wet," she said. "It could be worse though. They could all be gone."
It appears the self-storage warehouse took the brunt of the small but destructive tornado. DPS troopers stood guard outside to protect the property and the possessions.
As the tornado touched down in Livingston, the rest of the Houston area endured heavy rain, thunder and high winds.
At one point in the afternoon, nearly 30,000 CenterPoint Energy customers are without power around the area, and residents are reporting downed trees and minor street flooding in other parts of the city.
In Conroe, a man was injured after he was struck by lightning outside of his home. The victim, Kenneth Reeder, will spend the night at Conroe Regional Medical Center. Doctors believe Reeder's pacemaker saved his life after the lightning strike.