Big Divide area heavily damaged

BY JEFF LOWE AND ALEXANDRIA RANDOLPH
Dispatch Record

A National Weather Service damage survey determined that an EF-2 tornado struck Sunday three miles west-northwest of Copperas Cove, close to the Lampasas County line. Estimated peak winds reached 115 miles per hour, and the twister followed a path that was about 1.57 miles long and 500 yards wide. No fatalities or injuries were reported. 

Copperas Cove Deputy Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Gary Young said 196 homes in the Big Divide area east of Kempner were damaged. Three houses were deemed uninhabitable, and the residents have made arrangements to stay with friends, he said.

Lampasas Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Chane Rascoe said Taylor Creek Elementary on Big Divide Road suffered only minimal damage.

The city of Lampasas saw less destruction in general than areas to the east. A house on South Western Street, though, was damaged after a massive pecan tree blew over.

Christina Marez had just walked inside that residence before the tree came crashing down. Seeing the storm move in, Marez had moved a pickup truck under the carport to avoid wind or hail damage. After taking a few steps into the kitchen, she heard a loud boom, then another boom. The tree landed on part of the roof and on a utility line.

The brunt of the storm passed through Lampasas within an hour or so.

Lampasas Fire Department, Kempner Volunteer Fire Department and Lometa Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to separate reports of sparking power lines, tree fires or other storm damage. The city of Lampasas Electric Department also had a busy evening.

The Lampasas County Sheriff’s Office reported that water was over a crossing on County Road 3600.

The fact that injuries and further damage did not occur "is the grace of God,” Marez said. “It could have been a lot worse. I’m grateful. This can be replaced.”

The Citizens Collection Center in Lampasas will be open this week for residents to dispose of storm-related debris at no charge. The collection center is located at 201 Brown St. For more information, call 512-556-8315.

Cool weather (for June) was expected Monday and Tuesdy, with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s.

Lampasas’ hottest day of the year occurred Sunday, 96 degrees, before dropping to 72 before 6 p.m., according to a Lower Colorado River Authority weather station about 10 miles west of Lampasas. 

The NWS Storm Center reported that “golf-ball” to “ping-pong ball” size hail was observed in Lampasas and several counties in the region.

Photos from the Kempner area posted on social media show homes missing large sections of roofing and trees collapsed into roadways.

Hancock Park Golf Course reopened Tuesday after it was closed Monday for storm cleanup.