n.b. I am a little behind on the Year 40 posts due to, well, life and a bad CF card. I hope to catch up this week.
The skies opened up and delivered their bounty last Saturday as I drove through my old neighborhood in Houston. Torrential rains arrived just as the family had finished laying my grandmother to rest next to my grandfather – reuniting them after nearly 38 years. The strong thunderstorm led to a few hurried goodbyes to aunts, uncles and cousins before I started my way back home. As I cut through the old, familiar roads of my boyhood, the rain began to slacken but continued to course down the streets towards Houston’s streams and bayous.
The storm ended up dumping up to 8″ inches of rain as well as hail on southern Harris County Saturday. To read more about this brief but memorable storm, read this post from the Chronicle’s science reporter and blogger, Eric Berger.
An unidentified couple watches as volunteers and rescue workers dig through the debris of a recycling facility in Jarrell, Texas. The plant was destroyed by a tornado on May 27, 1997. © Temple Daily Telegram/Matthew Crawley
Fourteen years ago today, at approximately 3:45pm, at F5 tornado hit the Double Creek Estates in Jarrell, Texas. At the time, I was about a mile or so to the northeast on the frontage road of I-35 watching the backside of the incredibly dark storm. About an hour and a half later, I took the photo above of an unidentified couple watching rescuers digging through the debris. Beside being in the paper I worked for, the photo moved on the Associated Press wire service and was featured in a number of papers as well as the front page of MSNBC.com.
The storm killed 27 in that small community, including one entire family. I remember the victims and often pray for their friends and family each time I hear of a tornado such as Joplin.
I had hoped to visit Jarrell today but events kept me from doing so. I have never written publicly about my experiences of that day. Look for a post detailing that day which will include photos that have never been published.