Robbie Owens for CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COMBy Robbie Owens

GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) – Debris piles are growing as homeowners today worked to clear away the toppled trees and snapped branches—all the handiwork of Tuesday’s fierce and fast moving storms.

“I’ve never seen such a wind!” exclaimed Karen Waxler.  “I’ve never been in a tornado or nothing.  But, in a way I felt it was shaking that house!”  Waxler surveyed her Garland neighborhood in awe of the damage—shingles were stripped off, windows broken, and downed trees filled more yards than she could count.

“I couldn’t see a thing, it was raining so hard,” recalls Waxler.  “All of a sudden, I heard this’wwhhrr’—and I looked straight ahead through my dining room window and this tree come on top of my house down to the ground.”

What had been a welcome break from the searing heat—had taken a destructive turn.

“I had told my husband:  ‘man I’m loving this, I love a good thunderstorm, as long as it doesn’t get any worse than this’,” says Cherri Childers.  “And when it was over he said, ‘go look in the yard’… and I couldn’t believe it.  And I was just devastated.”  Beloved shade trees that took years to mature were gone in minutes.

“These trees are really brittle, “says Billy Toombs, Billy’s Tree Service.  “Being that it’s been so hot, so that wind just knocks them right out of the ground.”

The rare August thunderstorm quickly turned into a bonanza for Billy’s Tree Service.  “I’m looking at about 20-25 [ calls ], just for today.”

But, the strong winds left a big headache and lots of damage at South Garland Baptist Church.  The church lost its 65 foot steeple and two A/C units were ripped from the roof.  The storm hit Tuesday evening, just minutes after dozens of church members left the parking lot.  Wednesday night service has been canceled; but, Pastor Larry Davis says the congregation will meet outside for a brief prayer service.  They are thankful that no one was injured.

“Storms change the landscape and so this will change the landscape for us somewhat,” says Davis.  “We’re going to make the most of it…we certainly will  remodel and rebuild and keep going.  That’s what we think our faith is about.”

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