You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Housing greatest need after tornadoes
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
A March 19 tornado caused extensive damage to this southwest Bexar County home.
Government and spiritual leaders in Medina County all agree that temporary housing is the greatest need among those who were displaced by the tornadoes that ravaged the area March 19.
While many news reports have indicated that Devine was dealt a crushing blow, City Administrator Gary Pelech said the city did not take a direct hit. Pelech, who worked as Floresville’s city manager before working in Devine, said much of the damage was concentrated in an area approximately a quarter mile from the city limits.
Pastor Ed Dougherty, who chairs the Devine Ministerial Alliance, said that 26 homes near Devine, Natalia, and Pearson have been deemed unlivable due to the damage resulting from the two tornadoes that roared through the area. According to the Austin-San Antonio National Weather Service Forecast Office, the Natalia tornado was classified as an EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. It laid a path of destruction 7 miles long and 50 yards wide, and had estimated peak winds of 110 mph.
The tornado near Devine, which was classified as an EF-2, had estimated peak winds of up to 115 mph and had a damage path 3-1/2 miles long and a quarter-mile wide.
Further investigation concluded that two additional tornadoes occurred in southwestern Bexar County and on the northeast side of San Antonio. Meteorologist Joe Baskin said a tornado rumored to have touched down near Runge did not occur, as the damage was more indicative of straight-line winds.
Representatives from the San Antonio chapters of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army and the Devine Ministerial Alliance were among those who sprang into action to assist residents once the winds died down. But the greatest response, said Medina County Judge Jim Barden, was from neighbors helping neighbors and strangers who lent their assistance.
“One lady who came to the shelter said, ‘There were people in my yard I didn’t know,’” Dougherty said. “‘They were in my yard picking up debris.’”
Now that much of the larger debris has been removed or destroyed, smaller debris remains. While teams are scheduled to perform some of the work, additional volunteers are welcomed, Dougherty said.
Those displaced by the storms have had temporary accommodations from family or friends, or by one of the emergency shelters established in places such as the Devine Community Center. As the rebuilding effort continues, Dougherty said the need for long-term shelter will become more apparent.
“We have no rentals available in the area,” he said. “The oil-field boom south of us has gobbled up our rental properties.”
Barden said local officials will be working with state officials for more permanent housing solutions. Dougherty said the alliance plans to solicit larger organizations with a request for travel trailers that can be placed on residents’ properties while they rebuild.
Despite the devastation to property, Barden said there only were eight documented cases of injuries, none of which was life-threatening. There were no fatalities.
Anyone wishing to offer assistance to the ongoing tornado relief efforts can call Dougherty at 210-573-6448.
March 29 storms
Another band of storms -- which brought rain, thunder, lightning, and hail -- bulldozed its way through South Central Texas in the early morning hours of March 29 and led to flooding for some areas of Karnes County.
Baskin said the highest rain total was reported 2.3 miles north northwest of Runge, where 7.53 inches fell. There were 6.22 inches of rain reported 7.25 miles south of Yoakum. Floresville, he said, only received “slightly above 1 inch.”
Waterways near Runge rose to heights not seen in quite some time. Baskin said the San Antonio River -- which has a normal height of 11 to 13 feet -- rose to 30 feet. The Ecleto Creek, which usually reaches 1 to 2 feet, rose to 18.9 feet at the climax of the storm.
Karnes County Judge Barbara Shaw said March 30 that there were numerous road closures due to flooding. Karnes City was without electricity for several hours because of lightning damaging transformers. Internet service to all county offices was not expected to be restored until at least April 2.
Shaw praised the quick mobilization by area fire departments, police departments, the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office, and the Karnes County Emergency Management Agency. She said there were no injuries and just one report of a high-water rescue.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
•American Red Cross, 210-224-5151. www.redcross.org
•Salvation Army, 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769), www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org
•Pastor Ed Dougherty, Devine Ministerial Alliance, 210-573-6448
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Section A: General News Archives
Agencies nab 7 in human-trafficking sting (February 10, 2016)
Apply now for Miss La Vernia Pageant (February 10, 2016)
Behind the lens: Hitting the trail (February 10, 2016)
BPA students advance to state (February 10, 2016)
Bud Box ends two-decade career at alternative school (February 10, 2016)
Chamber to hold monthly luncheon (February 10, 2016)
China Grove mayor, police chief clash (February 10, 2016)
Commissioners amend Kicaster-area fire coverage plan (February 10, 2016)
Court Update (February 10, 2016)
Dating and the budget (February 10, 2016)
Donate blood to save lives (February 10, 2016)
Editorial: It’s about ‘We the People’ … what will ‘we’ do? (February 10, 2016)
Editorial: National election: Iowa down, New Hampshire to go (February 10, 2016)
Firefighters plan Pancake Breakfast (February 10, 2016)
Floresville mayor to councilman: Sit down or else (February 10, 2016)
Floresville park’s erosion problems prompt action (February 10, 2016)
Free heart health screenings (February 10, 2016)
H-E-B ice cream recall (February 10, 2016)
La Vernia trustees consider $33.2M bond, approve new finance chief (February 10, 2016)
Lean meat still part of a heart-healthy diet (February 10, 2016)
Letter: House fire victim extends gratitude (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Pastors should keep out of politics, stay in church (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Unruly government needs discipline (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Writer says it’s okay to ignore the charter (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Floresville Planning & Zoning Commission (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: St. Hedwig City Council (February 10, 2016)
Oil, gas leasing workshop Feb. 22 (February 10, 2016)
One-stop tax shop? (February 10, 2016)
Petition supporters plan protest rally (February 10, 2016)
Police Blotter (February 10, 2016)
Presidents’ Day office closures (February 10, 2016)
Register for Great American Cleanup (February 10, 2016)
Save the date for ‘Hope in High Cotton’ (February 10, 2016)
Should Christians support sanctuary for illegal aliens? (February 10, 2016)
Stockdale supports apartment venture (February 10, 2016)
Things are looking up in downtown Stockdale (February 10, 2016)
‘Official oppression’ or ‘criminal trespass’? (February 10, 2016)
Agencies uncover $400K in stolen vehicles, parts (February 3, 2016)
China Grove begins vote on tax rollback (February 3, 2016)
Clock running out for Floresville recall issue (February 3, 2016)
Connally expands high-tech health care (February 3, 2016)
Council action changes boards (February 3, 2016)
Court Update (February 3, 2016)
Deputies charge Floresville spurned lover with arson (February 3, 2016)
Deputies investigate recent thefts (February 3, 2016)
Editorial: The demand for villains (February 3, 2016)
Editorial: What’s in a city charter? Is it like a … Constitution? (February 3, 2016)
Eight-liner opponents face deadline (February 3, 2016)
FELPS pools tornado damage claim with city, Floresville ISD (February 3, 2016)
Floresville USDA accountant resigns (February 3, 2016)
Free CERT disaster course (February 3, 2016)
Get a free heart health screening in Kenedy Feb. 12 (February 3, 2016)
Greater LV Chamber to meet (February 3, 2016)
H-E-B recalls cookware (February 3, 2016)
Hold on for now (February 3, 2016)
It’s all happening at Nixon-Smiley Elementary (February 3, 2016)
Kicaster area will have fire coverage (February 3, 2016)
Landfill welcomes China Grove junk (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Apple Pie author extends thanks (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Gonzales differs with writer’s conclusion (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Talamantez truly a man of the people (February 3, 2016)
Life Line Screening event set in Floresville Feb. 28 (February 3, 2016)
Mock Republican Debate Feb. 20 (February 3, 2016)
Nixon-Smiley livestock show set for March (February 3, 2016)
One dead in game-room robbery (February 3, 2016)
Pioneer Award honors Burnside (February 3, 2016)
Pirates Cove in Poth offers after-school care service (February 3, 2016)
Police Blotter (February 3, 2016)
Save the date for Lincoln Dinner (February 3, 2016)
School district cops ink deal with city, county (February 3, 2016)
Second responders to meet (February 3, 2016)
Stockdale, La Vernia units respond to back-to-back fires (February 3, 2016)
Tanneberger is top agent (February 3, 2016)
Weigh in on Loop 410 changes (February 3, 2016)
Wilson County Hermann Sons lodges meet new-member goal (February 3, 2016)
‘Loving’ heart-shaped treats are for the birds (February 3, 2016)