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Irving Neighborhood Surveys Damage Following Tornado

By Matt Goodman, CBSDFW.com
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IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) –  When it started hailing around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sherwood Forest resident W.R. Murrow, 56, and his 14-year-old son didn’t retreat from their front-row seats.

Many of their neighbors huddled in hallways or bathrooms when the baseball sized hail began hammering against their roofs. The Murrows, however, stayed and watched the storm develop from two lawn chairs parked under an awning on their small front porch.

But when the thunderous buildup abruptly stopped, an eerie stillness settled in. And Murrow flew inside – for a moment.

“It got deathly still,” he said. “So I went inside and told the family to get in the tub.”

Then he was back out on the porch with his son, watching estimated 100 mile-per-hour winds fling roof shingles into the street and splinter the towering oak trees that define the neighborhood.

Sherwood Forest in central Irving took the brunt of the damage in the city, officials said. An EF1 tornado touched down in city limits, and the neighborhood was right in the middle of its path.

dsc 8420 Irving Neighborhood Surveys Damage Following Tornado

An Oak Tree split in Irving on the afternoon of May 24, 2011, the day after an EF1 tornado touched down. (Credit: Matt Goodman/CBSDFW.com)

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado hit south of U.S. Highway 183 at Beltline and Conflans Road and traveled to Rock Island and Story Road.

On Wednesday, Lamar Middle School in the 200 block of Crandall Road was closed because it had no power. Meanwhile, waste disposal crews cleared fallen tree limbs, leaves and roof materials that had accumulated overnight in the streets.

“There are some huge, mature, beautiful trees here,” said Brenda Haney, director of solid waste services in Irving. “One limb off some of these trees, it’s like some places losing an entire tree.”

A few doors down from Murrow’s home, one of those very trees split and fell on 83-year-old Dorothy Vaughn’s roof. A limb cut through the shingles and into the interior of her home, eventually jutting out through the ceiling in her front room.

“She’ll lose half of her ceiling,” contractor Sam Shost said while scanning for wet spots with a 3-D imager.

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A tree limb juts out of a ceiling in Irving on May 24, 2011. (Credit: Matt Goodman/CBSDFW.com)

Vaughn said she’s lived in the home since 1976 and could only remember one comparable storm, which blew down two trees in her backyard.

Her version of Tuesday’s storm was similar to many other nearby homeowners: heavy rain followed by intense hail then a strange calm and a few minutes of dangerous winds.

“I just sat there and said, ‘Lord, please don’t let my house blow away,’” Vaughn said. “It was over in two-or-three minutes.”

At the Murrow home, a transformer behind the backyard toppled forward, eventually coming to rest against the back fence. It pulled an attached power line down with it, draping it over a 1998 Ford F-150 parked near back of the driveway.

“This worries me,” Murrow said. “I heard something go, ‘boom,’ then saw a big flash. I called (Oncor) last night, told them I had a pole snap and it’s hanging. Haven’t heard anything since.”

dsc 8427 Irving Neighborhood Surveys Damage Following Tornado

A transformer leans against a fence near a truck in Irving on May 24, 2011, the day after an EF1 tornado cut through the city. (Credit: Matt Goodman/CBSDFW.com)

Power in the neighborhood went out around 9 p.m. Tuesday, residents said, and was still off well into the afternoon Wednesday. Immediately after the storms, about 76,000 in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area were without power.

That number dropped to about 20,000 Wednesday afternoon, 15,000 of which were in the Dallas area.

“There’s a lot of roofers out today,” nearby resident Omar Flores, 31, said. “I got my pocket full of cards.”

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS OF STORM DAMAGE IN IRVING

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