Posted on May 20, 2015.
TORNADO CAUSES EXTENSIVE DAMAGE – At approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday night, two large storms merged into one and made its way through Wise County. The storm produced at least one tornado that caused considerable damage in the southwest quadrant of the county, in Runaway Bay and along Farm Road 920. There was also considerable flooding in Bridgeport and the surrounding communities. Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Beard said that the initial plan of action is to make sure everyone is safe. “Right now we’re dealing with life safety,” Beard said early this morning. “We will take care of property damage and flooding when everyone is accounted for.” Two Runaway Bay apartment buildings and at least 15 houses along Farm Road 920 were severely damaged or destroyed as of 12:56 a.m. Wednesday morning. At that time, no storm-related deaths and minimal injuries had been reported. County Judge JD Clark said that several organizations were lending their services to the people of Wise County. “Red Cross is mobilized and are heading to Runaway Bay to assist those displaced from their homes and offer shelter and medical care,” Clark said. “The State Department has a task force on the way to offer aid, as well.” At the time, Clark said that they hadn’t had a lot of serious injuries and were hopeful to assess property damage when daylight arrived. But before that, taking care of the storm victims was the top priority. “We want to make sure that everyone has a roof over their heads and a place to sleep,” Clark said. “We’re getting the help and manpower we need to make sure that everyone who was affected by the storm is accounted for.”
Messenger Photo by Joe Duty
Messenger Photo by Joe Duty
Messenger Photo by Joe Duty
REPORT YOUR DAMAGE – Did you receive significant damage, see the tornado or help with the recovery? Email us your report or photos at email@example.com, send us a message on our Wise County Messenger Facebook page (www.my-wise.com), tweet us @wcmessenger or call 940-627-5987.
RED CROSS SHELTER – The Red Cross has opened a shelter at the First Baptist Church, 513 Port O Call, in Runaway Bay. According to Red Cross representative Anita Foster, “The Red Cross is currently working on a plan for disaster assessment to determine how many families will need Red Cross support following last night’s storms. Updates will be provided @RedCrossDFW.”
THOUSANDS WITHOUT POWER – The powerful storm that swept through the county last night caused close to 2,000 Oncor customers to lose power, according to Area Manager Sabrina Easley. Multiple downed power lines were reported. As of 6:45 a.m., approximately 1,500 customers remained without electricity. The outage primarily is affecting the Bridgeport, Paradise and Cottondale areas. “Equipment was damaged in the storm and will have to be changed out,” Easley reported. “We are expecting that outage to be restored around 3 p.m. today. Other areas that remain out include Runaway Bay, Decatur and Chico. Crews are being brought in from around the state to assist with restoration.” Earlier this morning, Easley said crews were having trouble getting to many locations due to flooded and impassable roadways.
OPENING LATE – Alvord school district is opening at 10 a.m. today due to flooding conditions caused by last night’s storm.
SCHOOL CLOSED – Paradise school district is closed today due to last night’s storm.
RAINFALL AMOUNTS – The storm brought several inches of rain. Some areas near Bridgeport received up to 6 inches of rain. Our rainfall reporters provided the following totals: 4.15 inches in Bridgeport, 4.05 in Alvord, 3.8 in Greenwood, 3.52 in Decatur, and 0.27 in Rhome.
MORE RAIN IN FORECAST – The National Weather Service is predicting a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms today, mainly before 1 p.m. A flash flood warning remains in effect until 9:15 a.m.
LAKE LEVEL RISING - Heavy rains have helped improve the water levels at Lake Bridgeport. At 6:30 a.m. Wednesday the lake level was 9.97 feet below conservation level. That’s a significant improvement in two weeks when it was down 24 feet. Tuesday night rains in Jacksboro, Antelope, Archer City and over the lake itself are expected to improve the lake levels even more.
NO KNOWN THREAT – Although it has been reported by some media outlets that the deadly shootout between motorcycle gangs and police in Waco Sunday might be connected to a fight between motorcycle gangs at last December’s Wise County Toy Run, Wise County Sheriff David Walker said yesterday that he had spoken with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which found no links between the two events. Walker said none of those arrested or killed Sunday in Waco were from Wise County. The sheriff’s office has also been reaching out to the organizers of a Memorial Day party scheduled this weekend hosted by a motorcycle group near Chico but have “no intelligence there will be any issue.”
OFFICES CLOSING – The Bridgeport City Hall, Parks and Recreation, EDC, Municipal Court, Infrastructure Offices and Library will close at noon Friday for the City’s Employee Appreciation Lunch. The same offices will also be closed Monday for Memorial Day. If you need immediate assistance on either date, call the Bridgeport Police Department at 940-683-3430.
BAKE SALE - The employees of First State Bank will have a bake sale Friday benefiting 1,000 Miles Til Home. The organization partners with the Military Warriors Support Foundation to give mortgage-free homes to combat wounded veterans. The bank is located at 661 West Thompson in Decatur.
FUNERALS – Memorial service for Bonnie Wyatt, 73, of Azle is 1 p.m. today at the Jones Family Funeral Home Chapel in Bridgeport.
GRAVESIDE service for Marguerita June Scales, 93, of Kansas City, formerly of Chico, is 10 a.m. today at Chico Cemetery. Jones Family Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
SERVICE for Kathy Butler, 58, of Bridgeport is pending at Jones Family Funeral Home.
GRAVESIDE service for Olan Eakman, 77, of Decatur is 10 a.m. today at Terral Cemetery in Terral, Okla. Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur is handling arrangements.
FUNERAL for Eva Aliene Elmore, 93, of Decatur is 11 a.m. today at Coker-Hawkins with burial at Flower Mound Cemetery.
NO SERVICE is scheduled for Ruth McDonald, 99, of Decatur. Coker-Hawkins is handling arrangements.
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