City of Arlington, State of Disaster

Posted: April 9, 2012 in Free Styling, School
Tags: , , ,

On Tuesday, April 3rd, North Texas got hit with one of the worst storm systems in recent history. The National Weather Service is claiming that 16 tornadoes touched down throughout this long afternoon. 3 of the worst hit areas were Forney, Lancaster, and Arlington.

Arlington is the city in which I have been born and raised. The last time that tornadoes hit the DFW area, Arlington was skipped over and spared. For as long as I can remember, nothing to this magnitude has ever hit Arlington. I remember some really bad hail storms back in like ’93 or ’95, but hail won’t demolish a house. Things were so bad that the city had to establish a Tornado Recovery Center for residents impacted by the devastation. All in all, the city reports that 430 homes were damaged. That doesn’t even include the damage sustained to Kennedale. Kennedale had to establish a curfew the first couple of nights after the tornadoes passed through, partially because the looting was getting out of hand.

At approximately 3:30 in the afternoon that day, I got the information that Mayor Robert Cluck had declared Arlington as being in a State of Emergency. Not too long after that, I got the information that either Governor Perry or the Mayor had further declared Arlington as in a State of Disaster.

It’s been almost a week and I still can’t believe that it’s happened, much less that my home town is in a state of disaster, but the pictures say everything.

The area towards the top of this picture is my high school, and the adjoining sports facilities. Look at how close the tornado came to it! This picture is taken facing east, and my parent’s house is only a couple of miles to the east. It’s unbelievable how close it came, unbelievable.

I’ve seen estimates that show the tornado that was on the ground in Arlington tracked a path about 4.6 miles long and the damage path was, at max, about 150 yards wide. The picture below is an approximate path that the twister took.

It moved into our area from Kennedale, carving a hook into Southwest Arlington, terminating somewhere around Lake Arlington. During the course that it was on the ground it did damage to several large buildings in the area. One of them was St. Barnabus UMC.

After tearing a hole in the church on Pleasant Ridge, it continued on to the north, carving out a lot of property damage until it hit Little Road and started to curve around towards the west. As it got to Green Oaks, it tore a huge chunk out of the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. There were people still in there when the storm hit!

After crossing over Green Oaks it continued on to the west. Sometime before getting to Lake Arlington, the cyclonic activity driving the tornado broke up and killed the storm over the immediate area.

I never heard of any other tornado related damage occurring in North Arlington or the Mid-Cities area, so as far as I’m aware, that was the end of this particular tornado. I couldn’t even begin to try and put a dollar amount to all the damage caused in the area, but despite all the damage there were never any fatalities or serious injuries. This is also true for the entire North Texas area that this system of storms broke out in. For this, I feel truly blessed. North Texas is a big place, that’s what I keep telling people anyways. Not 1 death or serious injury when 16 tornadoes decide to wreak havoc on an area bigger than some countries.

I was stuck up in Denton in my Spanish class while all this was going on. I don’t know if my Spanish professor has ever heard of a tornado before. I know she’s never seen anything like this crap in Spain before. I tried as hard as I could to get out of there, because if I was going to die, it wasn’t going to be in a Spanish class at UNT. Unfortunately the stairwells were completely blocked, so I couldn’t even get off the level I was on.

I hate being stuck inside for this kind of thing, though if I was in Arlington this time, I might have been singing a different tune. It was really hard being stuck up in Denton and not down there. I had to rely on texts and Facebook to get the most up to date news on what was going on. It was also frustrating for a while not knowing if my friends and family were safe or not. Texts only move so quickly in emergency situations. I’m just glad everything turned out alright for everyone that I care about.

I made it back to Arlington, finally, on Wednesday afternoon. I got to see for myself just what happened. These are some of the pictures that I took.

It was amazing and horrifying seeing these things. It was a relief though seeing people come together to help each other out, and again it was amazing knowing that no one was seriously injured in all this.

Seeing my hometown in such a tattered state puts a lot of things in perspective. We’re only here on this earth for a short time, and we need to make the most of the little time we have. You never know when something is going to come out of left field and destroy everything you’ve ever known

Make the most of your time, and live your dreams, because there may not be a tomorrow.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

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