Rain, strong winds and a tornado watch were all part of an April storm system that was nothing out of the norm, until television weathermen warned residents north of Denton about the imminent danger of a tornado.
The EF1 twister touched down just before 7 p.m. April 30 just north of Texas Woman’s University (TWU). It bounced from house to house, jumping street to street and left a trail of destruction in its wake..
“[The] pressure dropped, lights started flickering. We were in the bathroom. I looked out the window [and] everything was sideways and that’s when it hit just out of nowhere,” said resident Ryan Fuentez, one of many listening to Denton amateur radio operators at the time.
Fuentez lost two trees but there was no damage to his home. One pecan tree in his front yard hung from power lines.
“We have a large pine tree in the back, lying in our pool. Got to deal with that,” Fuentez said.
The curbs in the usually well-groomed community were lined with broken tree limbs. The sound of chainsaws filled the air as residents cut down limbs, broken trunks and parts of trees that were in unusual places.
The more you looked, the more damage became apparent. Trucks lined the streets. Chainsaws roared like they were at a logging camp, and there was no power in the area.
“A tornado came through. Throw down a lot of trees. A lot of house services, but we are slowly getting back on,” said Brian Sanders with the Denton Municipal Electric.
There were yards with trees snapped in half, cars and trucks with large tree limbs or whole trees laying on them; the job of clean-up had begun.
Although there was lots of damage, the neighbors were looking to see if anyone was worse off and offering to help.
Linda and Joe Davis were checking on neighbors, even though their property was hard hit, and there was a large limb sitting on their truck.
“About 6:30 [p.m.] and they started saying the tornado was headed towards this part of Denton, and I ran to the bathtub. My husband kept wandering around the house,” Linda Davis said.
After a few minutes she told her husband to “Hurry, get back in the bathtub,” and he said “It’s all over now,” and it was. “We came out and could not believe what it was like,” she said.
Among all the bad that came from a few minutes of strong winds and rain, the human factor kicked in and neighbors went to work.
“It was several hours after the whole neighborhood started working,” Linda Davis said.
The next day, organizations like the Texas Baptist Men showed up to help.
“The Baptist Men appeared and a man named Judge and he was talking to my husband and telling him ‘we’re here to help you clean up your property,’ and I couldn’t believe it,” she said.