Fort Worth

North of Loop 820 Sees Strong Wind Damage from Storms

Chris Van Horne

The damaging winds did a number on businesses just north of Interstate Loop 820 in Fort Worth on Tuesday morning.

The ominous clouds that approached the area between 8 and 8:30 a.m. from the south foretold the trouble that lied ahead and the work required hours later.

At the Lowe's adjacent to the Fort Worth-Lake Worth city limits, manager Rick Ray oversaw the cleanup after intense winds blew five outdoor storage sheds off the end of the parking lot and down an embankment – some ending up on a frontage road.

"Lot of wind, lot of noise," Ray said. "Fortunately no injuries."

Employees implemented their emergency procedures and gathered with about 30 to 40 customers in a safe area of the store as the storm blew in from the rear of the building and lasted for about 20 minutes.

"It got pretty scary – a lot of wind, a lot of noise," Ray said. "You could feel and see some of the tiles, the drop ceiling tiles, start to lift up out of their tray. It got scary there for a little bit."

Employees then surveyed the damage and found the storage shed as well as some damage to the garden center. Throughout the immediate area of Lake Worth and Fort Worth there were bent signs, light poles and trees. Power crews could be seen working to repair leaning poles. Several street lights appeared to sustain damage in Lake Worth, requiring police to direct traffic as power was restored and the lights were straightened.

It was likely straight-line winds near Lake Worth and Saginaw, just to the east, that caused the damage.

On North Main Street in Fort Worth, just south of the railroad tracks, the Shamrock gas station awning was severely damaged at Ron and Frank's Convenience Store.

"It started hailing, and the awning started rocking back and forth real bad and there was two cars underneath it," said Tanya Jackson, who works at the store.

Jackson said a beer delivery driver got those drivers inside the store. Jackson hit the emergency pump shut-off switch and took cover as the awning buckled in the middle. A video shot by an employee of a nearby food truck showed the awning going from flat to being pulled from the middle, creating a triangle.

The wind eventually pulled the awning off the metal posts, and it landed on top of Charter cable lines, missing the power lines. Oncor crews arrived and shut off power to the area and poles, as one power pole was snapped in the middle from the weight of the awning on the cables.

Oncor crews had to use a Bobcat tractor to lift the awning and remove the cables by hand to free them. Another company arrived with a replacement power pole to fix the issue.

"Very intense, we just thank God that everybody was okay," Jackson said. "Thank God it (the awning) stopped before it hit the highway."

At both locations everyone agreed the damage could have been far worse.

"We lost a couple pieces of trim, a little bit of damage. It could have been a lot worse," Ray said.

An auto body shop near the gas station suffered roof damage as well. No one was hurt at either location.

The businesses near Saginaw hope to re-open Wednesday.

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