Montague County

Residents Survey Damage as EF-1 Tornado Damages Homes, Businesses in Bowie

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

On Saturday, the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado had hit the city, about 75 miles northwest of Fort Worth, with maximum wind speeds estimated at 95 mph.

No deaths or injuries were reported in connection with the storm, which felled hundreds of trees and affected 400 to 600 city electric poles, Bowie Mayor Gaylynn Burris said at a news conference.

For some, it will be a couple of days before power is restored, she said.

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

The mayor assured residents that the city was not alone and had received many offers for assistance from other cities and the state.

Photos: Major Damage Reported in Montague County After Possible Tornado

In the city's downtown, more than 50 businesses were damaged in the storm.

Brandon Wood swept up debris outside the space he hoped to open a consignment shop in.

Wood was at the gym, when he heard the storm roll in.

“It sounded like a freight train coming through. It was bad. And it lasted for a good hour,” Wood said.

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

Daniel Schrick, his sister and her boyfriend were leaving the Spicy Mexico restaurant Friday night when they heard the sirens.

“At the time we were leaving, sirens started going off and I was like, 'We gotta get under canopy or something to keep the car from getting hit,' ” Schrick said.

They parked under the roof of a gas station as buckets of rain poured down.

“I called my grandparents and told them to get in the cellar and told them, 'I want you to stay there,' ” said Schrick's sister, AJ Schrick.

On Saturday, as residents assessed the damage in the city, a large tree crashed through the roof of a building next to Spicy Mexico.

NBC5 was there when the tree buckled, nearly crushing people working to remove it.

Tyler Pardun spotted this tornado Friday night, near the town of Bellevue in Montague County.

The above video was taken by Tyler Pardun near Bellevue, Texas, on Friday night.

State Rep. Drew Springer (R-Gainesville) thanked Bowied ISD Superintendent Blake Enlow for his quick thinking Friday night in postponing graduation services minutes before they were supposed to begin "when kids were so anxious to be able to graduate while we're going through this crisis with COVID."

Getting the students off the football field was a decision that likely saved lives, Springer said.

In a video posted to the district's Facebook at 7:31 p.m., Enlow stood outside Bowie High School, apologized to the seniors and announced the ceremony would be rescheduled.

Around 8:30 p.m. Friday, a tornado warning was issued for Montague County. A short time later, a second tornado warning was issued for an area near Vashti.

In a news release, the city thanked the National Weather Service for working with public safety agencies to provide about warnings about 30 minutes before the storms hit Bowie.

Sirens also went off, giving Bowie residents time to seek shelter, the release said.

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