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COPPERAS COVE, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) – The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF2 tornado hit Copperas Cove Sunday evening. The tornado damaged about 200 homes in the northwest part of town, but no injuries have been reported.
It touched down around 5:30 p.m. June 9, leaving behind a trail of destruction more than a mile long.
“Our home took the brunt of this block,” said BJ Taylor, who lives on Colorado Drive.
Now, blue tarps cover a line of homes on her street.
“I was up at the house with the cat. I had just taken a nap and I was in the bathroom, and I saw a white funnel come up to the window and then disappear,” BJ said.
“It kind of sounded like a large jet engine with a little rumble behind it,” her husband Don Taylor, said.
This was the first time the Taylors have ever been through a tornado. BJ watched as part of the house collapsed around her.
“Half of the roof fell and I quickly got out of there and went downstairs and the other half fell,” said BJ.
Dozens of homes on her block also took a hit. Just across the street, Keith Eichenlaub said he covered his truck just three minutes before the funnel cloud swept down his block.
“I got that done and walked inside the door. It was happening. You could hear it; you could actually feel it. Everything was shaking and trembling and stuff went sideways,” Eichenlaub said.
He said from his laundry room the tornado, with winds upwards of 110 miles per hour, felt like it picked up his home.
“It was violent. First time I’ve actually wanted to go run into that room and put a bicycle helmet on my head,” said Eichenlaub.
The damage on Colorado Drive was not as severe as it was where the tornado first touched down at the intersection of Big Divide and Grimes Crossing.
“When you think it can’t get worse, it can,” Eichenlaub said,
Two homes there partially collapsed. However, everyone made it out okay, something BJ feels grateful for.
“No animals and none of us were hurt and it’s all stuff and stuff can be replaced,” BJ said.
Monday was all about cleaning up. Volunteers and contractors picked up bags of debris from around the yard. Insulation, trees and roofing lined Colorado Drive Monday, some of it carried several houses away by the tornado.
The Taylors said it will be another five months before they can move back home, but BJ knows she won’t walk through the recovery process alone. She was reminded of that when she walked outside after the storm and found her late mother’s stone untouched, and again by the dozens of volunteers who offered help.
“It does restore your faith and it’s good to have friends,” she said.
The city said they sent out a warning as soon as the NWS reported there was storm rotation near Copperas Cove. However, some people said they ignored the call because they thought it was a telemarketer at the time.