San Antonio/ Weather & Environment
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Published on May 23, 2024
Emergency Declared as Tornado Strikes Temple, Texas; Residents Seek Shelter Amidst Widespread DamageSource: Google Street View

A tornado wreaked havoc in Temple, Texas, prompting an Emergency Declaration from city officials after carving a path of destruction across homes and businesses yesterday evening. The severe weather event, which occurred around 6:30 p.m., resulted in extensive property damage, road closures, power outages, and forced many residents into temporary shelters, as reported by FOX San Antonio.

West Temple's Parkfield Lane was among a the hardest-hit areas, with at least 30 homes sustaining significant damage. One resident, Abbie Rurup, described the chaos to KENS 5, saying, "Whenever I first walked out of the house, whole side row of houses and their roofs were almost completely gone." Her neighbor, Gavin Ethridge, echoed her sentiments, recounting blown-out windows and a downed powerline in his backyard. Both Rurup and Ethridge, along with many others, found refuge with nearby family members following the storm.

Amidst the chaos, the Wilson Recreation Center has opened its doors as a shelter for those affected, offering a safe haven and necessary resources. For those requiring assistance in relocation, Temple city officials have provided a number to call for transportation aid. The tornado also left a wake of power outages, with over 62,000 Oncor customers in Bell County experiencing blackouts, as reported by FOX San Antonio. Residents are directed to report outages or downed power lines directly to Oncor.

In the storm’s aftermath, several city facilities including the Temple Public Library and Sammons Community Center, will remain closed today, May 23. The National Weather Service of Fort Worth is set to conduct a storm survey assessing the extent of damages in affected regions, further emphasizing the storm's severity. Shadavia Blakemore, a mother of two, detailed to KENS 5 the conditions in her apartment at Midtown Apartments, where the ceiling gave way in her and her children's bedrooms. She said, “I mean it was just loud, the wind kept picking up and I don't know it was just harder than what I normally hear." Despite the loss of her home, she clung to a sense of relief, adding, "We’re safe, that’s the most important thing." Cleanup efforts are ongoing as emergency crews work diligently to restore a semblance of order.