Officials begin to assess storm damage in Kent County
Jayton, TX (Submitted by: Cody Hall)
Two NWS employees were given a ride in a DPS helicopter so they could survey weather damage in Dickens and Kent Counties.
The National Weather Service has classified this event as an EF1 tornado
KENT COUNTY, TX (KCBD) -
Kent County Judge Jim White has declared the damage that occurred in Jayton and Girard on Thursday has made the area a local disaster.
"A great amount of damage has occurred," White said.
Straight line winds up to 92 mph tore through the two communities. The winds, large hail and flooding caused extensive damage to trees, roofs, windows and left behind a lot of debris.
It also knocked out power for about 600 people.
White said Kent County is presently out of electricity, water and sewer services but are working hard to restore everything.
According to White, there was just one injury from the storms and all residents are accounted for.
The National Weather Service currently has a team in Jayton and Girard to assess the damage. Only after their assessment will we know if Thursday's storm was, in fact, a tornado.
As the sun came up and the community was lit again, the eye could see the magnitude of damage that was done to Kent County
"There were strong winds, hail, and the oldest tree in the community at the courthouse fell down and it's on top of my car," said Brenda Long, a resident of Jayton.
A strong storm with hurricane-like winds ripped through the small town of Jayton leaving tons of wreckage behind.
"We have declared it as a local disaster just based on the amount of damage that has been done, two structures and electricity being down for an extended period of time," Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator Howard Heath said.
The National Weather Service determined the damage came from intense, prolonged straight-line winds and not a tornado. However, they do believe there was a small tornado not far away.
"A few miles north/northeast of Girard, not much out there…a lot of juniper and mesquite…we saw evidence of a perhaps a weak tornado circulation over there," said Jodi James with the Lubbock National Weather Service.
Heath says the citizens of Jayton are strong and resilient and they have come together through all of this.
"We got volunteers coming out if the woodwork. We got people out cleaning up trees already. So they citizens are doing absolutely great," he said.