Alto community recovering after homes damaged during an EF2 tornado

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

ALTO, TX (KTRE) - A rash of serve weather tore through East Texas Friday night damaging several homes.

There was major damage in Cherokee County, west of Alto, in the Cold Springs community. According to the National Weather Service an EF2 tornado hit the community off County Road 2807, just east of FM 220 S.

"How can this happen to us, we're just an unknown little community and we're peaceful," Jennifer Sessions, a Cold Springs United Church member said. "Nothing ever happens here. Now we have this tremendous devastation."

A war zone is how many in this Cold Springs community describe the aftermath of a late night storm.

According to NWS meteorologist assessment the EF2 tornado hit at 7:33 p.m. and damaged over 27 homes with two homes losing the roofs. The tornado also destroyed two travel trailers.

At least 7 tornadoes hit the East Texas area on Friday, including an EF2 tornado in Lindale.

"We were really scared because we heard this tree fall on top of the house and we started hearing trees fall everywhere," Karen Lopez, a resident who lost part of her home said. "So we thought one was going to come and hit us."

"It's not that you don't think it's never going to happen to you, it's just that you don't consciously think about it," Kathy Wilton, a resident whose home was damaged.

Residents said the damage caused by the powerful storms happened in a blink of an eye.

"I really wasn't scared, I didn't have time to be," Bob Wallace, a resident whose home was severely damaged said. "We didn't have time to do anything. We barely got in the hall, and I could see the light up above me when the roof blew off."

"From the time it took me to walk back from the end of my hall, all of this happened," Wilton said. "It happened so quick that you can't comprehend."

The storms tore off the roof to a Church's Pavilion, which has been around since the 1800's.

"It has been used for many family reunions, our fellowship gatherings, and sometimes we've been known to have church outside," Sessions said.

With devastation surrounding them, this Alto community came together to clean up the scattered pieces.

"We have people helping us, working here trying to help us get everything cleared up," Lopez said.

"This community is altogether, and it's just amazing to see what people do to help each other," Wilton said.

"I wonder how we're going to put this back together, but I know this community is tight and hard workers," Sessions said. "Everybody is going to work together and get it done."

The National Weather Service also said an EF1 tornado hit near Reklaw, northeast of Cherokee County. They add it was part of the same storm complex which produced the EF2 tornado in Alto Friday night.  According to NSW meteorologist, this storm lifted a cluster of new chicken coops before lifting.

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