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Old 05-26-2021, 02:01 PM   #1
Tx.Fisher
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Default Jarrell Tornado 24 years later

Hard to believe tomorrow will be 24 years since this happened. This tornado is still considered one of the strongest F5 tornadoes ever, with 260-300mph winds. Survival was at 0% unless you were underground. It was on the ground less than 15 minutes and covered 5-6 miles. This tornado was an anomaly in that it traveled directly South/Southwest.

Sadly, 27 people lost their lives. Entire families were lost and never found. Well built homes that were bolted to foundations were completely gone leaving only the slabs. It started out as a small pencil like tornado and quickly grew to 3/4 mile wide. This tornado scoured the earth up to 18” deep and tore the asphalt off roads, anything in its path was reduced to small debris.

The storms that spawned the Jarrell tornado ended up spawning 19 other tornadoes across central Texas, including a F3 that hit Cedar Park, and a F4 that hit Lake Travis.

Personally I remember this day well, because my neighbor’s house was struck by lightning and caught fire. Thankfully, we were able to save it from burning to the ground.

This was only the third F5 tornado recorded in Texas, and there hasn’t been one since.




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Old 05-26-2021, 02:05 PM   #2
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Crazy stuff. Not much more terrifying than a big tornado. Maybe a big tornado at night.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:08 PM   #3
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I remember that day, too. I was working in a building in North Austin. I remember getting off work and hiding out in the parking garage waiting for the weather to calm down so I could leave.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:14 PM   #4
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I remember all 3 of those well. I saw the one in Cedar Park first hand and the one that hit Travis stopped about 5 miles from my house in Dripping that is was headed directly for.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:14 PM   #5
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Yep I remember it well. Was in Liberty Hill area. We went and drove thru Jarrell the next day. Will never forget that sight.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:17 PM   #6
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Worst thing I had ever scene. I was there for three days doing recovery. Heck of a way to start an Leo career.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:18 PM   #7
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I cannot believe that it has been 24 years. I was working in North Austin and remember how bad the weather was. I could see the tornado that hit Cedar Park from my house and watched it as moved away from me.

Knew a lot of people that went up to help with search and rescue after it went through Jarrell. It was hard for them to talk about what they saw and I did not ask as I knew it was bad.

One thing I remember them telling me, the tornado was so strong that it sucked the plubming out of the foundations.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:22 PM   #8
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Was working at Marine Outlet in Temple at the time. I will never forget how insanely humid it was that day. That same system spawned a tornado that destroyed Morgan's Point marina and sunk a bunch of boats. For weeks thereafter, one of my jobs was floating the sunken ones.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:33 PM   #9
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I remember hearing about this one. Growing up in central Oklahoma, I have seen my fair share and had close encounters and have always been fascinated with thunderstorms and tornados. It is just amazing the power of mother nature sometimes. Hard to believe it has been 24yrs. Doesn't seem like it.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:50 PM   #10
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Wow - 24 years. The pictures of the aftermath of that storm were some of the most incredible and disturbing I've seen. That neighborhood (Double Creek?) of about 50 brick homes was nothing but slabs. Liked stated in the OP, it sucked asphalt off the county road and sucked up all the grass and other vegetation, leaving only mud. I think about it every time I pass that exit on the interstate.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:53 PM   #11
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Wow time really flys can't believe it's been that long. Remember getting picked up from school in LH and heading back towards Georgetown. I had never seen anything that looked like that sky. Dark as night and covered pretty much the entire horizon. Had several family members that lived in Jarrell that lost everything they had that day.
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Old 05-26-2021, 02:59 PM   #12
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I've watched this twice over the years...
Very sad and completely fascinating at the same time.
It's hard to believe that wind can spin that fast and be that devistating..


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Old 05-26-2021, 03:10 PM   #13
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Yep. Still haunts me to this day, some of the things I saw in that subdivision. Had classmates that perished and we saw them laid out on the slab of their house. Nothing a 16 year old or any human should see. Cant believe that it has been that long. RIP Igo Family, Ruiz Family, Moehring Family, and the 15 others that passed on that day.
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Old 05-26-2021, 03:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttaxidermy View Post
I've watched this twice over the years...
Very sad and completely fascinating at the same time.
It's hard to believe that wind can spin that fast and be that devistating..

Jarrell Tornado: 20 years later | KVUE - YouTube
Yeah, a lot of good videos on YouTube about.

Oddly enough, the forecast for that day was only a slight to moderate risk of thunderstorms. Tornadoes weren’t even in the forecast.

A cold front, dry line, and a gravity wave that broke free from thunderstorms up in Arkansas/Oklahoma all collided over central Texas and blew up into these massive storms.
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Old 05-26-2021, 03:14 PM   #15
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Remember that day as well
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Old 05-26-2021, 03:18 PM   #16
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That was a wild day, my mother worked for the Red Cross at the time and was onsite for a while after.

I was on a lease near Jarrell and have a few friends in the area. One of the many terrible stories I heard about that tornado was about all the live stock that has to be put down after the storm from injuries. My friends just went pasture by pasture shooting their cattle that had been torn to shreds and were still alive screaming in agony.
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Old 05-26-2021, 03:41 PM   #17
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I was 4 years old and at Wendy Hill Daycare in Jarrell right off the access road from I35. I can remember them telling us to all get under the tables. Luckily the tornado never crossed the I35 corridor.
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Old 05-26-2021, 04:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stickslinger92 View Post
I was 4 years old and at Wendy Hill Daycare in Jarrell right off the access road from I35. I can remember them telling us to all get under the tables. Luckily the tornado never crossed the I35 corridor.
Another Windy Hill alum here. I saw Mrs. King in that video and thought about it. Several folks that went to our church in New Corn Hill (Holy Trinity) died in that storm. I was attending Tech at the time. I got a call at Bob's Liquor, where I was working at the time, from a buddy of mine from North Austin. He was in his closet waiting out the storm. He knew I was from the Jarrell area and told me about it and suggested I call home. I tried, but the lines were busy. Eventually, my call went through. My family was OK.
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Old 05-26-2021, 04:48 PM   #19
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I remember it, we were just out of school that afternoon the sky was green switched on channel 6 news and the meteorologist and they could actually see the tornando from where the news studio was back then they had live coverage of it from a distance, it was crazy. The footage he got made storm chaser Lon Curtis famous.
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Old 05-26-2021, 06:06 PM   #20
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In the movie “Twister” one of the storm chasers explains “The Finger of God” describes an F5 tornado. Watching a movie about one is as close as I ever want to get.
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Old 05-26-2021, 06:41 PM   #21
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I was in North Austin at work that day; we were told to get into the bathrooms.
Now, I live on a small ranch that is just 3 miles from that Jarrell subdivision; I remember the bare slabs, too.
Does anyone have an accurate track of that F5? My neighbor said that it stopped just over the ridge to the north of here.
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Old 05-26-2021, 06:59 PM   #22
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Horrible tragedy, can't believe it has been that long ago...
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Old 05-26-2021, 07:14 PM   #23
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I was living in Round Rock at that time, but, ironically, was up in D/FW handling storm claims for the insurance company I worked for. My wife was home, but ended up trapped in her car in the driveway by the stormy weather until she caught a break and could get inside the house. Thankfully she didn't have to experience the violent weather that others did that day.

Stu
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Old 05-26-2021, 07:23 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Box-R View Post
I was in North Austin at work that day; we were told to get into the bathrooms.
Now, I live on a small ranch that is just 3 miles from that Jarrell subdivision; I remember the bare slabs, too.
Does anyone have an accurate track of that F5? My neighbor said that it stopped just over the ridge to the north of here.

If you watch that video posted earlier at the 9:28 mark they show the path.


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Old 05-26-2021, 08:06 PM   #25
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I remember seeing the reports about it and the pictures of the devastation
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Old 05-26-2021, 08:07 PM   #26
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Was an FTO training a rookie that day. We sat on the etrance ramp blocking cars from getting onto n/b IH-35 from Tx29 in Georgetown. Was crazy and our car was shaking so bad we thought we might be done for. Many folks bolted outta cars and got up under the overpass bridges. After it passed we went up and helped with recovery and ID with the local JP whod been a fellow officer a few years prior. Saw some terroble sights that day. But later that evening it was actually the calmest prettiest sky ive ever seen. Just eerie and contrary to the evil that had just passed.
Cattle had holes in them with their entire insides sucked out . Skin was beat red on some bodies as the force of the storm pulled blood to the surface of the skin like hickies (sp?).
Crazy few days. Was an evil monstor of a storm. The storm path looked like a huge dozer had cut a path, like described earlier. 1 house just gone and a few feet away another sat almost untouched. 2x4s pushed thru tree trunks and the 2x4s look brand new on both ends. Crazy devastation and power that day. I dont really talk about it much but my heart was totally broken learning entire families including youngins were wiped out that day.
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Old 05-26-2021, 08:15 PM   #27
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I went with my friend and his dad to take money and supplies from our church after it hit. Will never forget going from asphalt to dirt and just seeing the aftermath was incredible.
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Old 05-26-2021, 08:21 PM   #28
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That was something I will never forget, working a job in south Austin. We didn’t have any weather and it was hot. Coming back through Jerrel and I remember seeing all those slabs exposed and thinking when did they pour them and why haven’t I noticed them. Didn’t have a clue until I got home and saw the news.
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Old 05-26-2021, 08:35 PM   #29
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Remeber that day well.

So much tragedy in such a short time.

Rwc
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:05 PM   #30
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I was driving down 35 (coming from Okla) and cut over on 6 heading to Houston. Heard radio reports on the storm but be were a little ahead of it. It was very scary for us.
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:19 PM   #31
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I thought about it last week as we went down I35 camping at Belton, sad day.
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:25 PM   #32
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I live just South of Jarrell and had just gone to work that day. There had been reports of water spouts over lake Belton right before I had left the house, and when I got to work the first thing I heard on the radio was that Jarrell had been hit by a giant tornado. Couldn't get any calls through to my family to check on their well being. I immediately left work, but all the roads were closed and it took hours to get home. Felt true terror that day as I listened to the reports of the many fatalities on the radio, wondering about the safety of my loved ones. My family was ok, but I knew several that weren't spared. I'll never forget
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:47 PM   #33
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My dad bought a double wide Mobil home that sat right between to empty slabs where brick homes had been. Basically approximately 100 yards between them. Every
Tree in the area was twisted off just bone the roof of the Mobil home. Broken window and mud was all that was song with it
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:47 PM   #34
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I remember it well and the Brownwood tornado too. Just horrible destruction.

But I count 6 F5 tornadoes that have hit Texas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._EF5_tornadoes

I hope we don't have anymore.
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:52 PM   #35
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I moved to Texas 3 years after this but I had heard how bad it was on the news. I got an eerie feeling the first time I drove up I-35 through the area. I saw the sign for Jarrell and thought “Ooooh, this is where that tornado hit.”
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Old 05-26-2021, 10:32 PM   #36
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Very scary day that day. I was on a tractor shredding in cedar park, looked up at the sky thinking to myself “that don’t look good”. Loaded up the tractor and driving back to leander I saw the tornanodo hitting the Albertsons. Did t know then but my BIL was working at Albertsons and was hunkered down. Got home and could see debri flying in the air as it was still hitting CP. Never forget that day. Sad deal
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Old 05-27-2021, 10:08 AM   #37
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Oddly enough, sitting downtown in Laramie last week and talking with a local gal in The Library about our weather possibilities that day, she mentioned the Jarrell tornado. She lived through it an had some stories that I could see were still hard for her to talk about.
She lost family and friends and barely survived.
Small world for sure sometimes.
Thoughts and prayers to those affected to this day.
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Old 05-27-2021, 10:42 AM   #38
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Sad Day… I never want hear of another for any of us.
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Old 05-27-2021, 11:20 AM   #39
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I had heard that one of the neighborhoods wiped out was largely in part because of a guy at the front of the neighborhood had a bunch of trash cars lying around. As was told to me by a survivor...the tornado picked up those trash cars and loose metal and turned them into disposal grinder blades and those cars chewed through all the houses in the neighborhood.

My survivor contractor said it was 3 twisters that joined up sequentially to make one massive tornado...maybe not. Ive got to watch the videos.

AL Clawson has a huge concrete bunker in the middle of their shop because of that storm.
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Old 05-27-2021, 11:34 AM   #40
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What a tragedy, I was working in Jarrell that morning repairing a CAT 973 track loader at the CCI quarry, finished early & went to another job in Dripping Springs. My old bag phone was blowing up, wife thought I was still in Jarrell. Thank god I finished early. I still remember my drive through that neighborhood that morning, returned a couple days after the tornado & to this day can not believe mother nature was capable of such destruction.
I vividly remember the recycle center & the trailers full of aluminum cans, the asphalt road in front of it, all gone. The only thing I could identify was a water heater. To this day I wander where everything ended up.
Let's all pray we never experience anything like this again.
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:17 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Briar Friar View Post
I had heard that one of the neighborhoods wiped out was largely in part because of a guy at the front of the neighborhood had a bunch of trash cars lying around. As was told to me by a survivor...the tornado picked up those trash cars and loose metal and turned them into disposal grinder blades and those cars chewed through all the houses in the neighborhood.

My survivor contractor said it was 3 twisters that joined up sequentially to make one massive tornado...maybe not. Ive got to watch the videos.

AL Clawson has a huge concrete bunker in the middle of their shop because of that storm.
I am fairly certain that the first part of your story is not true. That tornado was going to go through that neighborhood, regardless of what was in someone's yard. The path that it took, which was completely opposite of most tornadoes is one of the reasons that it was so massive and destructive. I would love to hear where or who you heard that from.

The other 2 parts of your post are true. The Indian legend says that the 3 twisters that joined are called the "Dead Man Walking". You can see it in the pictures. Pretty chilling, even to this day.

Last edited by COACH_EM_UP; 05-27-2021 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 05-27-2021, 01:20 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COACH_EM_UP View Post
I am fairly certain that the first part of your story is not true. That tornado was going to go through that neighborhood, regardless of what was in someone's yard. The path that it took, which was completely opposite of most tornadoes is one of the reasons that it was so massive and destructive. I would love to hear where or who you heard that from.

The other 2 parts of your post are true. The Indian legend says that the 3 twisters that joined are called the "Dead Man Walking". You can see it in the pictures. Pretty chilling, even to this day.
Let's don't argue on this thread but most definitely a bunch of cars and heavy metal flying in at 300 mph will do tremendous damage to anything it hits.. Without a doubt..
I've never heard the 3 tornado scenario.. Interesting.
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Old 05-27-2021, 01:25 PM   #43
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Big ole German style rock house was turned to ruble surrounded by dead cows. Someone asked why all the cows were in the pile of rocks. Someone else pointed out the cows had been basically turned into cannon balls and smashed the structure. As the storm died down the cows were laid up against the rocks
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Old 05-27-2021, 03:55 PM   #44
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It was a beast!
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Old 05-27-2021, 04:12 PM   #45
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I was appraising a house on acreage in north Georgetown I was out on a country road taking comp photos when the thing was on the ground siren blaring so I high tailed it home to Round Rock winds were insane. I was in my hallway and just cracked a beer, beer when my doorbell rang and there banging on my door. I t was a good friend of mine that lives in Jarrell. He was trying to get home but the wind,rain and hail was too much. We sat in my hallway drinking a few beers while we both continued calling his house, however we couldn't get through. When the storm let he went home. His placed was untouched, his neighbors kids were at his house with his kids and their house was destroyed a few blocks away. I went out there to help the next day and it literally did look like a bomb had gone off.
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Old 05-27-2021, 04:52 PM   #46
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I remember that day and the aftermath. I had just finished highschool and was 3 weeks from shipping out to bootcamp.
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Old 05-27-2021, 04:53 PM   #47
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I can't believe it was 24 years. I had literally just started working at Dell which was out in the cow fields at the time. We all went down into the RR1 Cafeteria which is somewhat underground.
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Old 05-27-2021, 10:13 PM   #48
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I went to Dallas probably a couple after that tornado hit. I went through Jarrell. It was hard to believe the damage. There was no grass left in the yards, no trees, pavement ripped up. I never would have imagined a tornado could do what that one did. The ground was soaked everywhere, there was mud everywhere, no grass, no nothing that would have been in the yards. I almost want to say that some of the slabs were sucked up out of the ground.

I have seen all types of stuff over the years, but seeing the neighborhood I drove through was very saddening, seeing what all was not there, where a neighborhood used to be.
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