Shattered Peace in Granbury Texas
Granbury, Texas, was devastated by an EF4 tornado that ripped through the area on Wednesday, May 15. Peace was shattered in the tiny county seat of Hood County in the town just 35 miles southeast the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
With insurance adjusters setting up shop and the authorities publicizing the numbers, the destruction can sometimes appear clinical to those who are reading the news from thousands of miles away. It all reads like other disasters across the nation: 6 dead, 37 patients received at hospitals, 15 of those sent to Metroplex hospitals, 19 buildings completely destroyed, 47 buildings with damage ranging from major to minor, 12 others with window and/or shingle damage, 17 mobile homes destroyed, and 2 others that sustained minor damage. Of course, there is always the caveat from the authorities that this is only an estimation and it could get worse.
For most, the catastrophe will soon be replaced by another breaking news story in a day, a week, a month, depending on what happens or how connected or disconnected they are from this tale. However, for those who live in the town of 8,000, the destruction is a devastation they will not soon forget.
First-hand accounts are heart wrenching to read; Tina and Billy Clark described their experience to CNN. Tina Clark said they hid and the closet as her husband Billy gave more details, “You could feel the pressure from inside the house. It was like pulling on the door a little bit. The whole house was shaking really bad. It felt like the house was getting ripped apart, but we couldn’t see anything from inside the closet, so we didn’t know what exactly was going on.” (cnn.com)
After the tornado passed the Clarks realized their house had survived the tornado; they left in their truck, but as they left their neighborhood they recognized their neighbors had not managed as well as they had. They ran into neighbors asking for a ride to the hospital; among them, two young girls covered in blood. According to Tina Clark, they were in such poor shape they could not even walk.
As they drove further, they came upon a boy and his mother who were sucked out of their home when the walls of their house were ripped off by the tornado. The mother was thrown into a tree head first, cracking it open. According to Billy Clark, he believed the woman was going to die in his truck. Her son had gone outside to get her when the tornado pulled him out of the house, throwing him into a field where he cut his head on a piece of sheet metal.
The Clarks collection of patients grew as they continued driving; they picked up several other children, “The one little girl, all her teeth were knocked out, And then the other girl, she had bones sticking out of her legs, she had a big gash in her arm.” (cnn.com)
The group found the road blocked by downed power lines and trees, so they returned to the Clark home to wait for emergency services; they called an ambulance and were told to wait. However, the tenacious twosome got back in their truck and took their injured neighbors as far as they could by vehicle and the rest of the way on foot, “We just had to carry them to the paramedics because they couldn’t get to us,” Tina Clark said. (cnn.com)
Lake Granbury Medical Center physician, Dr. Kerri Sistrunk head of the trauma unit, said some of the victims from the tornado had to undergo amputations; others suffered open fractures, head injuries, as well as minor abrasions.
The tornado on Wednesday was classified as an EF4 by the National Weather Service meaning there were sustained winds of up to 200 mph. Of the six classes, there is only one worse than the tornado that hit Hood County on May 15.
Killed by the devastating storm were Robert Whitehead, 60; Glenda Whitehead, age unknown; Jose Tovar Alvarez, 34; Leo Stefanski, 83; Tommy Martin, 61; and Marjari Davis, 82.
Before the tornado, Granbury was a quaint little town with a historic downtown shopping district boasting bed and breakfasts, unique eateries, and charming shops. There was a small-town feel that welcomed tourists and engaged locals. The road back to normalcy will be long.
By Dawn Cranfield
Senior Correspondent / Product Specialist