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Gov. Perry Tours Granbury Neighborhood Hit By Tornado

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Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott  tour Rancho Brazos Estates in Granbury - Friday May 17, 2013

Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott tour tornado damaged Rancho Brazos Estates area in Granbury – Friday May 17, 2013

GRANBURY (AP) – Gov. Rick Perry says the tornado-wrought devastation in a North Texas neighborhood is almost incomprehensible.

Perry toured Granbury on Friday, two days after a tornado left six people dead in the city about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said residents in the affected areas will be allowed to get belongings and begin cleaning up during daytime hours starting Saturday.

Granbury bore the brunt of the damage during the outbreak of 16 tornadoes in North Texas. In Granbury, much of the devastation occurred in the Rancho Brazos Estates.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also was in Granbury and urged residents to be cautious of those who might try to scam them as they rebuild.

People who were missing in the wake of the destructive tornadoes in North Texas have been found safe, officials said Friday, but they didn’t indicate when residents of one hard-hit neighborhood will be allowed to return to survey damage to their homes.

The Hood County Sheriff’s Office said the death toll from the violent storm system Wednesday night remains at six and is unlikely to change. Authorities had said Thursday that as many as seven people were listed as missing, but everyone has now been accounted for.

Hood County sheriff’s spokesman Nathan Stringer said authorities were focusing Friday on a devastated neighborhood in Granbury known as Rancho Brazos Estates, where most of the homes were damaged or destroyed.

Stringer said it isn’t known when the community will be safe enough for people to return, but said an informational meeting for residents will be held Saturday morning. Granbury is 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

He said there are at least 100 workers who have descended on Rancho Brazos to restore water service, raise electrical lines and clear debris.

“I can’t see them being able to get anyone in the area,” Stringer said. “That area is utterly devastated. I was in there for a couple of hours and I didn’t see anything untouched. It was one big debris field.”

He added that the damage is so extensive that it’s unclear where roads begin and end.

Raul Rodriguez was at home Wednesday with his wife and three children when the storm hit.

“I looked out the window and thought, `It doesn’t look good,”‘ he said.

The 42-year-old auto mechanic has lived in Rancho Brazos for two years in a home built by volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. It was the first home Rodriguez has ever owned.

They took shelter in a hall closet. All he could hear above the storm’s din was the sound of every window in his home shattering. After the storm passed, they emerged to find his home damaged but still standing.

“I’m surprised. I can’t believe it. My wife was the first person out, and injured people, bloody people, started coming to our house, asking us to call 911,” he said.

Habitat for Humanity spent years in the subdivision, helping to build many of the 110 homes in the low-income area. But its work was largely undone during the outbreak of 16 tornadoes.

Granbury bore the brunt of the damage. The weather service said the preliminary storm estimate for the Granbury tornado was an EF-4, based on the Fujita tornado damage scale. An EF-5 is the most severe, but an EF-4 tornado has wind speeds of 166 to 200 mph.

Another tornado in nearby Cleburne cut a mile-wide path through part of the city Wednesday. The weather service said it was estimated as an EF-3, which has winds between 136 and 165 mph. No deaths or severe injuries were reported from that tornado.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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