Bastrop News

Tornado, flooding and water rescues

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By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer

A resident along Thousand Oaks Drive on Tuesday described a harrowing storm that blew through his property in southwestern Bastrop County late afternoon Monday afternoon. “I was outside my house when all of a sudden tin started flying off the roof of one of my out-buildings,” the man, who asked not to be identified, said. “I was trying to make it back to my house and my family inside. It passed real quick. It uprooted my oldest oak which fell on three of my vehicles at once.”

While the vehicles were heavily damaged, fortunately the man, his family and his home were OK. But all up and down Thousand Oaks Drive and the bordering Shady Oak Loop, dozens of trees could be seen literally ripped to shreds and damage to several homes and other structures. Several large tree trunks had also fallen across Shady Oak Loop. One home was destroyed (the residents were OK), firefighters reported over a radio, but on Tuesday that home’s location could not be seen from the road by a reporter.

A “rotating” cloud was initially reported being seen in the sky by a local fire chief as it moved off towards the west of Bastrop. On Tuesday, the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado (with top winds that can hit 110-117 mph) had touched down along a path three miles long and a quarter mile wide between Bastrop and Cedar Creek. No fatalities were reported from the tornado; it is unknown if there were any serious injuries – no such reports, related to the tornado, were heard over a police scanner from first responders.

In other places throughout the rest of the day and into Tuesday morning, reports of water rescues, collapsed bridges and streets, heavy lightning and confused motorists could be heard over a police scanner. Firefighters used a swift-water rescue boat Monday night to get to a group of a dozen people stranded in a home in the 200 block of Stony Point Drive in southwestern Bastrop County.  “Twelve people in the residence cannot get out,” one first responder could be heard saying over the radio. Other people were either pulled from vehicles, or from being stranded in various situations because of rapidly-rising water. “Six to eight inches of fast-moving water is across FM 812,” another first responder reported. In another situation, three people were temporarily trapped in a mobile home in the 300 block of Pope Bend South.

At noon on Tuesday the Colorado River in Bastrop was well over its banks downtown, flooding a large portion of Fisherman’s Park. Bastrop ISD cancelled school for Tuesday. But officials had reported no flood-related deaths, according to a spokesperson for the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management. (See  www.bastropmarketplace.com for updates).

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