Georgetown Edition | April 2022

TORNADOES The National Weather Service classi ed the March 21 tornado that swept through Round Rock as an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Other tornadoes that have touched down in the county include: A history of

April 7, 1980: Round Rock • EF3 level tornado • 1 death May 17, 1989: Leander • EF3 level tornado • 1 death

• 2 injuries • $250,000 in damage

• 28 injuries • $2.5 million in damage

May 27, 1997: Jarrell • EF5 level tornado • 27 deaths

• 12 injuries • $40 million in damage

A construction site in Hutto was demolishedMarch 21 as part of 1,258 structures with damage inWilliamson County from two tornados that also aected Round Rock, Jarrell and other portions of the county. (Community Impact Newspaper)

March 16, 2000: Leander • EF2 level tornado • 0 deaths July 4, 1998: Round Rock • EF1 level tornado • 0 deaths July 15, 2017: Georgetown • EF0 level tornado • 0 deaths March 21, 2022: Round Rock • EF2 level tornado • 0 deaths


• 0 injuries • $30,000 in damage

interchangewith I-35. The tor- nado damaged or destroyed many parked vehicles, but RRPD public information oŠ- cer Nicholas Olivier said the department has not tracked that –gure. Communities come together In areas along the torna- dic path, residents and other agencies began responding to and assessing the damage as soon as the weather cleared. Entitiesworking to help vic- tims included the Round Rock Police Department, Round Rock Fire Department, Wil- liamson County EMS, Round Rock ISD Police Department, Williamson County Sheriœ’s OŠce, Department of Pub- lic Safety and Austin Police Department. On the evening of March 21, the city of Round Rock set up two shelters at United Heri- tage Center at Dell Diamond, located at 3400 E. PalmValley Blvd., and Redbud Elemen- tary School, located at 1500 Ty Cobb Place. Four families ended up staying in the two shelters that night, according to city information. Several area entities also organized relief eœorts for vic- tims of the tornadoes. By March 23, volunteers created a makeshift donation distribution center at Cedar Ridge High School to help residents living within RRISD boundaries. At UnitedHeritage Center at Dell Diamond, city of Round Rock workers collected dona- tions for victims. Also at the Dell Diamond facility, the Austin Disaster

the people of Williamson County shoulder to shoulder,” Abbott said. “We know that you have faced a devastating storm ... with multiple torna- does ripping throughWilliam- son County alone. We know there are many people whose lives have been completely disrupted. People have lost their homes. Property dam- age is devastating. It’s a loss. But if you are alive—you can rebuild that property.” Aectedareas inRoundRock andHutto By March 23, the National Weather Service classi–ed the tornado that swept through Round Rock and Granger with wind speeds up to 135 mph as an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. According to the EF Scale, an EF2, which is the third most powerful on a scale from EF0 to EF5, brings winds up to 157 mph, destroys trees and mobile homes, turns large objects into projectiles and rips roofs oœ houses. The March 21 EF2 tornado hit numerous homes, busi- nesses and automobiles in Round Rock along a north- eastern path from its touch- down near the interchange between I-35 and SH 45 N to eastern segments of Hwy. 79, including Eli’s Roadside Pro- duce Market. Kalahari Resorts, which closed March 22-25, was one of the largest local businesses hit. The Round Rock Police Department reported one vehicular accident as a result of the tornado—an overturned 18-wheeler on SH 45 N near its

past Hwy. 79. Minutes later, the same tor- nado damaged several homes under construction and other property in Hutto before making its way all the way to Granger in the northeast part of the county. Two days later onMarch 23, Round Rock was abuzz with activity. Workers gathered debris into piles; chainsaws whittled errant branches from fallen trees into more stackable pieces; and crews repaired infrastructure along busy streets. The residential roads hit by the tornado became con- gested, packed with various types of repair vehicles. “When [the tornado] hit, I mean, we didn’t have time. It was just, it was so quick,” Round Rock resident Lindsey Topolski said March 22. Topolski’s home took a massive amount of dam- age—the tornado crushed her garage with her car still in it, and the top of her house is nearly gone. In the days after the vio- lent weather subsided, state, county and local oŠcials began assessing the scope of the destruction. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell held a press con- ference directly after the weather had calmed. At that time, relatively few details had emerged about the breadth of the devas- tation, but Abbott issued a hopeful statement to county residents. “The state is standing with

• 0 injuries • $300,000 in damage

• 0 injuries • $100,000 in damage

• 0 injuries • $34 million in Round Rock



Austin Disaster Relief Network 1122 E. 51st St., Austin 5124286322 | Dell Diamond Heritage Center (donations being collected) 3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock 5123100734 Round Rock ISD Partners in Education Foundation 95 Round Rock West Drive, Ste. 404, Round Rock 5124645600 Central Texas Food Bank 6500 Metropolis Drive, Austin 5122822111 Relief Network organized a multiagency resource center that ran for three days from March 24-26. Along with the ADRN, groups including the Red Cross and Catholic Char- ities provided assistance. Beyond oŠcial relief eœorts from area oŠcials and agen- cies, Round Rock residents came together to help their neighbors. As one example, in the neighborhood of South Creek where dozens of homes were

Red Cross Central Texas 2218 Pershing Drive, Austin 5129284271 | Round Rock Area Serving Center 1099 E. Main St., Round Rock 5122442431 | SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline 8009855990 | Bluebonnet Trails Community Services 1009 N. Georgetown St., Round Rock 8443096385 |

Hutto Resource Center 204 E. Live Oak St., Hutto 5126880176

damaged or destroyed, resi- dent Tammy Crespo said she was lucky. Her house had only minor damage. Crespo said she recognized how helpful everyone in the neighborhood was being— checking on each other and making sure everyone had enough food, water and other supplies.

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