Jarrell faces lengthy cleanup process after tornado strikes

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Neighbors say the small town outside of Austin is no stranger to tornadoes, but it hasn’t seen damage this bad in more than 20 years.

AUSTIN, Texas — The small town of Jarrell is facing a daunting cleanup effort after a tornado struck multiple houses, businesses and trees just west of Jarrell High School.

The most significant damage happened off FM 487.

One resident had pieces from her metal shed blow hundreds of yards away before getting stuck in a tree.

“The metal beams, it’s just amazing how they are so tangled in there,” Linda Braun said. “One of these heavy, heavy beams ended up from our backyard and flew to the front yard and it’s wrapped around a tree.”

While her shed collapsing caused damaged to her daughter’s car, her pickup trucks, a tractor and other items, Braun said she’s grateful the rest of her house remains intact.

She said she saved the furniture inside her home by holding her front door shut until the tornado passed.

“I felt like I had to hold the doors so it wouldn’t come into the house … I mean, I held them. It was tough, but I held them,” she said. “Before we heard the wind, I saw metal flying. It was the metal off this roof that was flying. I got up out of the chair and I knew what was happening then.” 

Braun thinks the recovery efforts will last up to a month.

Less than a mile down the road, trees had been uprooted, fencing was damaged and animal coops were destroyed at multiple other properties.

In one neighborhood, all 10 houses were hit in some capacity.

No one in the neighborhood speaks English, and they told KVUE’s Jake Garcia that it presented an information barrier when it came to getting updates from local news and authorities.

“We put my youngest kid into the bathtub because it’s a sturdier place, and all of us ended up being OK,” Jose Espinoza said in Spanish. “After it passed through, we went outside and started checking on neighbors to see if anyone was hurt to see if we could help, and that’s when firefighters came and started to help everyone.”

Espinoza said he moved to the neighborhood in 1999, and his neighbors have said they haven’t seen damage this bad since 1997.

“It’s scary and difficult,” he said. “But the good thing is everyone is OK.”


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