Following last week’s tornado touch down in the area, Guadalupe County officials said residents can get help from the county and help bring more possible assistance this way.
The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado that battered Guadalupe County on Monday was an EF2. Property owners are not alone in their clean up and rebounding efforts, Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher said.
“I want to reassure the public and any affected property owners that we are definitely here to support them in anything they need,” he said. “We know a storm like this is completely devastating so we want to help however we can.”
County personnel have delivered water to volunteer fire departments, contacted the Red Cross for hotel/motel vouchers, and connected with the San Antonio Food Bank to get assistance for families here, Kutscher said. The county’s emergency management office put in those efforts for the community, he said.
“It’s not like a big community drive for something; it’s going out to those families and saying what do you need,” Kutscher said. “If they need clothes, shelter, food, anything, we can help them find it.”
At least seven homes were destroyed, and many other homes and buildings were damaged Monday when the tornado touched down bringing with it an estimated peak wind of 115 miles an hour, the National Weather Service said in a report released by Guadalupe County Emergency Management Coordinator Patrick Pinder.
According to the National Weather Service, an EF-2 tornado is capable of winds between 111 and 135 MPH.
National Weather Service personnel surveyed the damage and determined the twister traveled about 7.53 miles starting in Guadalupe County south east of Kingsbury and traveled northeast into Fentress, the statement read.
The storm began causing damage about 5:48 p.m. south of Interstate 10 just east of Seguin with straight-line winds and large hail, the National Weather Service said. After the storm crossed the interstate, it formed into a tornado and moved east.
“The tornado crossed Appling Road, where it took off metal panels from two different barn structures including one barn that lost all of its metal roofing and possibly part of an exterior wall,” the service stated. “The tornado next crossed U.S. Highway 90 and moved almost in parallel to Woodrow Center Road.”
As the tornado continued, it carved out a path of destruction, damaging homes, barns, sheds and RVs as it bent, twisted and uprooted centuries-old trees, the report stated.
The tornado’s destruction ended when it fell apart after crossing into Caldwell County near Stairtown, the National Weather Service said.
The damage to homes and property prompted Kutscher to declare a state of disaster Tuesday morning in Guadalupe County and he asked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to do the same. Just after noon on Tuesday, Abbott signed an order declaring a state of disaster for 16 counties including Guadalupe.
“A proclamation certifying that the severe weather which began on March 21, 2022, produced heavy rain, large hail, damaging winds, and multiple tornadoes poses an imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property in Bastrop, Cass, Cooke, Grayson, Guadalupe, Houston, Jack, Madison, Marion, Montague, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Upshur, Williamson, and Wise counties and declaring a state of disaster,” the order read.
It is important for Guadalupe County victims to notify officials of any property damage. The more damage recorded, the better chances are that state and federal assistance will come this way, Kutscher said.
“Then you get into more of an overarching government aspect of the disaster declaration, communicating with the state and the potential of state and/or FEMA level response and aid,” he said. “It’s going to be an ongoing process to do damage assessments.”
While implementing the disaster plan, his office has conducted damage assessments and evaluated the extent of the damage, Pinder said. They have seen damage throughout the county including roofs blown away, barns blown over, outbuildings damaged and some lesser forms of wreckage, he said.
The Kingsbury area suffered more severe impacts, Pinder said.
“We have seven homes completely destroyed, that are uninhabitable,” he said. “We have seen more major damage, which means you have siding off a home. Major means still livable but siding, shingles missing and things.”
Only about 59 residents across the county had reported damage to their homes as of Friday, Pinder said. He and Kutscher implored property owners to make their impacts known. Ways of reporting the tornado’s affects go beyond the county level, they said.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management opened its disaster assessment website to submit information, Pinder said. The state agency’s site will collect damage amounts in hopes of the county qualifying for state and Federal Emergency Management Agency funding, he said.
“Submitting information to TDEM’s website is voluntary; however, it is crucial to input your information so that the predefined threshold can be met for Guadalupe County to qualify for FEMA assistance for our citizens impacted by the recent storm,” Pinder said.
To report damage, go to damage.tdem.texas.gov or email the Guadalupe County Emergency Management Office at email@example.com . Include a name, address, phone number(s), insurance yes/no, damages and estimated value of damage.
Information can be added on the county’s Facebook page as well as the county website, Kutscher said. Efforts to collect information continue.
“It’s going to be an ongoing process to do damage assessments,” Kutscher said. “That’s the one thing we want to reiterate to the public.”
Felicia Frazar contributed to this story. Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org .