Montague County

Bowie Residents Count Blessings in Tornado's Wake

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Saturday was a day of cleanup in Bowie as trees laid across yards, power lines were toppled and 200 homes sat in some form of disarray.

Mayor Gaylynn Burris said Friday night's storm, which included a tornado, was the worst she’s seen hit Bowie in nearly three decades of living there.

“I was just flabbergasted that it could hit so fast, hit so hard and do so much destruction," she said. "But again we have no deaths, we have no injuries, so we have to make sure we're thankful for that."

As State Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) spoke at a press conference less than 24 hours after the EF-1 tornado hit, he estimated at least a few million dollars in damage.

Though dozens of buildings around town took some kind of hit, especially in downtown Bowie, the worst damage was seen in a 1-mile stretch of homes between U.S. Highway 59 and Mill Street.

Texas Sky Ranger surveyed damage after a tornado caused widespread in Bowie Friday night.

That’s where Bill McGowan rode out the storm.

“I felt the house rockin’. Just hoped for the best,” McGowan said.

Perhaps "best" is what McGowan got, as he counts himself among the lucky ones with little damage to his home. He did, however, lose a yard full of trees that he’ll be cleaning up for weeks.

Just around the corner, 16-year-old Jenna Rogers said her family wasn’t as lucky.

Though the house is still standing, she said it was knocked from its foundation.

They’ve been told it’s no longer safe to go inside.  

“It’s devastating. We’re all… we’re trying our best,” Rogers said.

Down the street, a home was ripped from its foundation and tossed into a pile of rubble across the street.

Recovery crews said the woman who’d lived inside moved out just three days before.

Close to 200 homes and dozens of businesses were damaged Friday night when a tornado swept through Bowie.

At Jackrabbit Stadium, the city's high school football stadium, toppled chairs and a stadium light snapped in half like a toothpick are eerie reminders of what could’ve been.

Around the time the storm hit, it should’ve been filled with 125 seniors and their families for a socially distanced graduation.

Just 30 minutes before, Superintendent Blake Enlow made the call to cancel.

“The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘Oh my goodness. If we had waited 15, 20 more minutes to make any more… or not make the decision that we did, we would’ve have hundreds of people streaming into the stadium there at that time,” Enlow said.

It’s one of many reasons people in Bowie are left counting their blessings as they prepare for what could be weeks if not months of cleanup.

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