Continuing Coverage of Tornado Outbreaks in North Texas

Ennis Residents Worry About Tornado Caused Road Closure

A major artery through the town is set to be closed for at least a month

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The city of Ennis closed off several blocks in the historic downtown area, including parts of Business U.S. 287, also known as West Ennis Avenue.

    Engineers in Ennis say five buildings there could collapse after last week's tornadoes.

    The city has closed off several blocks in the historic downtown area, including parts of Business U.S. 287, also known as West Ennis Avenue.

    Power Lines Downed in Ennis

    [DFW] Power Lines Downed in Ennis
    Power lines were struck down and roofs were damaged by straight line winds that hit Ennis Wednesday night.

    Barricades went up on Saturday to prevent people from the damaged buildings, which engineers say have been structurally damaged by the EF-1 tornado.

    On most Saturday nights the intersection of West Ennis and South McKinney Street would be packed with people and vehicles. On this Saturday night it was like a ghost town, filled with road blocks, caution tape and the occasional police car. The closure of West Ennis will have a significant impact on the town as its shuttered to traffic for the next month.

    Ennis Hit by EF-1 Tornado

    [DFW] Ennis Hit by EF-1 Tornado
    Downtown Ennis was hardest hit by an EF-1 tornado Wednesday night. The severe storms left some residents shaken.

    "This is the lifeline of our town, so the detour and all the damage has been pretty upsetting for everyone," said Gina Armstrong, an Ennis resident surveying the closure.

    Armstrong knows Ennis better than most as she's lived here almost her entire life.

    EF-1 Tornado Damages Downtown Ennis

    [DFW] EF-1 Tornado Damages Downtown Ennis
    Downtown Ennis was hardest hit by an EF-1 tornado Wednesday night. The severe storms left some residents shaken.

    "I've lived here for 46 years," Armstrong said. "We love our little town."

    And it's that love of Ennis, that has Armstrong and other residents concerned about the tornado's damage and closure of Business 287 will mean for the historic district.

    "Some of our businesses down there are pretty small and so we're kind of worried about them, it'll be hard for them to recover I'm sure," Armstrong said.

    On Saturday night, work crews finished installing the wooden barricade wall to protect people from the damaged buildings. It is estimated that the barricade will be up for at least a month as crews work on the damaged structures.

    "A couple of the buildings that are behind this wall the fronts of them are just like rubble, like bricks that have just fallen down the front," Armstrong said. "You can't replace these buildings, you know? I know they'll do a good job getting back to as close as they are."

    Armstrong lives just two blocks away from the historic district, where her 102-year-old home saw virtually no damage when the storms passed by.

    "We were amazed when we woke up and came down, we didn't realize the damage until the next morning," she said.

    And now Armstrong and everyone hopes that damage can heal the heart of their city.

    "It's so important to everyone who lives around here," Armstrong said.

    May 24-26 is the National Polka Festival in Ennis, an annual event that virtually doubles the town's population. The Saturday parade has already been re-routed around the road closure according to Armstrong.