Update on rebuilding efforts one year after tornadoes hit Southeast Texas

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One year ago, tornadoes ripped through the Pasadena and Deer Park areas causing more than $6 million in damage to nearly 700 homes and buildings.

DEER PARK, Texas — Wednesday marked one year since a tornado destroyed homes and businesses in Deer Park and Pasadena. The EF-3 tornado traveled almost 19 miles in 35 minutes, with winds peaking at 140 miles per hour. Nearly 700 structures suffered an estimated $6.6 million in property damage.

From a new roof outside to renovations inside, a lot’s happened at the City of Pasadena’s animal shelter in the year since Mayor Jeff Wagner arrived.

“It seems like it was just last week,” Wagner said on Wednesday after touring the shelter. “We saw the roof completely out here on top of all the cars.”

Since then, crews have replaced the roof and reinforced pillars with concrete and are now finishing the needed interior repairs discovered during an inspection. The goal is to reopen in February.

“This building here is built now the way it should have been built the very first time it was built back in 2000,” Wagner said. “Now, we’re ready for a storm and keep our animals safer.”

Many of the animals have been staying next door at the city’s adoption center. Others have been fostered or taken in by shelters run by neighboring cities or Harris County. It’s one example of community collaboration Wagner said he saw throughout his city’s recovery.

“Besides our city crews cleaning up, people were out helping neighbors clean up,” Wagner said.

Wagner estimated about 95% of impacted Pasadena residents are back to normal, with the remaining 5% finishing up home repairs.

Dudley Dailey told KHOU that his house near Burke and Crenshaw just needs some touch-up paint and new flooring after damage from the tornado and rain in the days immediately afterward.

“It just tore us up,” Dailey said. “It tore the shingles and the plywood down to the rafters, like peeling a banana. The whole rear of my house. So, I had all that water coming down and all that damage.”

Dailey credits the Red Cross and neighbors with helping get his home “almost back to normal” one year later.

“It was an ordeal, but I had plenty of help,” Dailey said. “Even two or three weeks after, the neighbors (said), ‘Hey, you alright? You need anything’ So, the neighborhood came together, and even bonded.”

It’s a recovery fueled by resiliency.

“Pasadena: we’re tough,” Dailey said.

KHOU also requested an interview Wednesday with Deer Park Mayor Jerry Mouton, Jr. A spokesperson emailed this statement from the mayor:

“The tornado that ripped through the City of Deer Park exactly one-year ago today forever changed our community, and in any aspect, will have an impact on us forever. Catastrophic events are never a scenario anyone wants to find themselves in, but we do not get to choose those narratives for ourselves. Most importantly, we were abundantly blessed that no lives were lost. That in itself is a remarkable miracle. The way our community as a whole wasted no time in coming together to recover was the best way to demonstrate what makes Deer Park such a wonderful place. Our City Council, leadership, and staff jumped into action; neighboring cities immediately provided resources and assisted with debris pickup; neighbors were helping neighbors; the community rallied to keep our dedicated staff well-fed. In all aspects of this horrible scenario, above all else, we were blessed and for that we are very grateful.”

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