Breckenridge Texan

High winds, lightning cause damage, light flooding in Stephens County and Breckenridge

High winds, lightning cause damage, light flooding in Stephens County and Breckenridge
May 18
18:38 2021

By Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Thunderstorms packing strong winds and lots of lightning strikes pushed through Stephens County and Breckenridge late Monday night and early Tuesday morning, damaging roofs, downing power lines and trees, and causing light flooding in town and one structure fire.

On Tuesday afternoon, Oncor work crews were still on the scene along Stephens County Road 215 where it intersects with Farm Road 3201, working on power lines to restore electricity to nearby residents. Pieces of sheet metal roofing, tree branches and downed power lines littered the area along the side of the road where the crews and trucks were located.

Bob Hooper, who lives on County Road 215, sat under his carport talking to his next door neighbor, Dickie Shaw, as they watched the Oncor crews working to replace the downed power lines across his front yard. A pile of sheet metal from what had been the roof of Hooper’s back porch lay smashed up against a metal fence across the street.

Hooper said he and his wife, Ann, were in bed when the wind ripped the top off his porch and blew it over the house and across the street into the fence. He said he remembers it happened at exactly five minutes before 1 in the morning because he was looking at the clock when it happened.

On the lake shoreline behind his house, where several boat docks and boat houses lined the shoreline,  two of the boat houses were missing pieces of sheet metal roofing that had been ripped off during the storm. Next door, at Shaw’s home, a large fruitless pear tree lay snapped in half in the neighbor’s backyard.

At his neighbor’s house on the other side, Hooper said, they had their utility meter box ripped off the side of the house by wind. Up the street from Hooper’s home, where County Road 215 intersects with County Road 217, there were sheets of metal strewn on a lawn just past the intersection.

Hooper said nobody was injured and that most of the damage at his home was limited to his back porch. Although, they had a little water damage in the home, just near where the porch was ripped off, he said.

Breckenridge Fire Chief Calvin Chaney said firefighters spent about two hours in the area early Tuesday morning, monitoring the downed power lines until Oncor crews could get there because the lines were still hot.

Chaney said that between 2:30 and 3 a.m. firefighters also responded to a structure fire at a tank battery on South Graham Street that was caused by a lightning strike. He said a tank battery was struck by lightning, and in the process it set a building on fire that housed pumps and telemetry equipment. The fire in the building caused extensive damage, he said.

In town, a large tree was blown down on West Elm near the intersection of Pecan Street, blocking the road. Chaney said city street crews were called to the scene Monday night to clear the tree off the road. Additionally, he said, there were also multiple calls for downed power lines caused by the high winds. There was also a power outage reported on County Road 208 that lasted about two hours.

As for flooding, Chaney said there were no reports of any bad flooding in the area. He said the only flooding that occurred was on streets that normally flood when there’s a lot of rain in a short time.

“It’s just the same places that flood every time,” he said. “We got that three inches in a short amount of time, and you know Walker Street (floods), of course. It floods right there at Easy Mart; Walker and Parks — that’s always a big flooder up there.”

Chaney said he didn’t know of any reports of injuries caused by the storm.

The National Weather Service’s forecast shows a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms for Tuesday night, May 18, mainly before 11 p.m., with new rainfall amounts expected to be between a tenth and quarter of an inch. Thunderstorms remains in the forecast for the rest of the week with chances ranging from 20 to 50 percent.

Boat houses located on boat docks along the shoreline of Lake Hubbard Creek, behind homes on Stephens County Road 215, had pieces of sheet metal ripped from their roofs during a storm early Tuesday morning. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Sheet metal ripped from the back porch of a home on Stephens County Road 215 lays up against a downed fence across the street from where Oncor repair crews were working to repair down power lines Tuesday afternoon. The lines were knocked down when thunderstorms passed through the area early Tuesday morning. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)




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