Rowlett Tornado Memorial Canceled Amid Weather Concerns - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Rowlett Tornado Memorial Canceled Amid Weather Concerns

The EF-4 tornado struck the North Texas town on Dec. 26, 2015

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Memorial Planned for Victims of 2015 Rowlett Tornado

    The Rowlett community will hold a ceremony to honor the victims of an EF-4 tornado that touched down on Dec. 26, 2015. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018)

    Editor's note: The Wednesday remembrance ceremony for the victims of the Dec. 26, 2015 tornado outbreak was canceled due to the threat of inclement weather.

    For countless people in North Texas, Christmas will always be followed by a somber anniversary.

    Thirteen people died and hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed when a dozen tornadoes touched down on Dec. 26, 2015.

    Today, in the path of the EF-4 tornado, a statue of a phoenix stands to honor the victims.

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    According to police, suspect Seth Holcomb walked up to the counter to make a purchase. He leaves the store and then comes back in as if to make a second purchase. Then, he pulled out a knife at the counter. What he didn't expect was that the clerk would pull out a machete of his own.

    (Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019)

    "It's a place where people can find some solace," said Debby Bobbitt, a Rowlett City Council member.

    After the storm, Bobbitt said she saw the worst bring out the best in people.

    "I think it's in our nature to help others and this community, oh my goodness," Bobbitt said.

    You have to look closely to see how far this community has come.

    From scarred trees to homes never rebuilt, the signs are subtle at the intersection of Miramar Drive and Pebble Beach Drive, which found itself in the tornado's crosshairs.

    "You wouldn't have any idea now," Bobbitt said. "So we're very proud with what we've accomplished in Rowlett."

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    Nine of those killed were driving along an Interstate 30 frontage road when the tornado touched down.

    Bobbitt lives nearby.

    "It came on the news and there was my house," she recalled. "That part of the tornado came right over my house and there was nothing I could do. It tore up some of the roofing and that's about it."

    Emotional scars will live on long past the physical, which makes the memorial statue of a phoenix all the more meaningful.

    "You know the story of the phoenix and how it was decimated and then came up out of the ashes and in this case, it was the rubble," she said.

    Dozens will gather Wednesday to remember those lost.

    A ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Spirit of Rowlett statue on Sunnybrook Drive.

    A moment of silence will last 16 minutes, the exact amount of time the tornado touched down.

    Editor's note: The Wednesday remembrance ceremony for the victims of the Dec. 26, 2015 tornado outbreak was canceled due to the threat of inclement weather.

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