CROSBY COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - The National Weather Service conducted an official survey of storms near Cone, TX after the severe Sunday evening storms.
Officials say the damage was caused by straight-line wind gusts from 80 to 100 mph. It was officially classified as a "wet macroburst" which is rare in West Texas. A macroburst is "a convective downdraft with an affected outflow area of at least 2½ miles wide and peak winds lasting between 5 and 20 minutes. Intense macrobursts may cause tornado-force damage of up to F3 intensity," according to the NOAA. A wet macroburst is a macroburst accompanied by significant precipitation.
A macroburst caused a large amount of wind damage in and around Cone between 6:30 and 7 pm.
The storm started in New Mexico around 2:30 p.m. and hit the state line around 3 p.m. and turned severe. The storm left a path of damage from Bula, TX to Cone, TX (approximately 80 miles).
The heaviest structural damage in Crosby County consisted of a collapsed brick wall to a single residence home.
"It's a total loss," Paul Hart, owner of that residence, said. "It's done. There's no coming back from this."
Hart was inside the structure with his wife and two kids when the storm blew through.
"You couldn't see anything out of these windows," Hart said. "The water was hitting so hard, it was just a wall of white water. Then the garage came off its tracks and this wall few out."
The Hart family owned the house for two years and was planning to remodel and move in. Now, they think the next step is cleaning up the damage and moving a different home onto the property.
The roof of an agricultural building was also blown off by the strong winds.
That was an office building for Verett Farms of Crosby County. Manager Kris Verett was at home watching the storm move across the South Plains on his phone.
"It was a mean looking cloud but I wasn't expecting this out of it," Verett said. "I thought it would be a little rain, a little wind like normal. I was sitting at the house and one of my employees, who lives close by, was checking around, looking around and told me it was a lot worse than what we were expecting after they got out and surveyed the damage."
It was that employee who gave him the news about the roof.
"I thought for sure he had to be kidding," Verett said. "Maybe some shingles had come off or something like that, but not for sure the entire roof hadn't come off but sure enough it had. It was actually a lot worse than what I was expecting. There was about 3 or 4 inches of water in the entire building because we got some rain after it blew off. Not only the roof blew off but everything inside was a loss."
Other damage in Cone included broken windows, fallen trees and downed tree limbs. Several dozen utility poles were damaged or destroyed in the area, and some crops sustained considerable damage. At least 10 center pivots were damaged or destroyed.
Fortunately, there are no reports of injuries because of the storm and for that, residents are thankful.
"So far it's nothing that's irreplaceable that has been damaged," Verett said. "It's just the inconvenience of having to clean it up and do it all."
Cone is an unincorporated community in Crosby County, Texas, United States. It lies on U.S. Route 62, thirty-four miles northeast of Lubbock, has an estimated population of 70.
There were additional reports of structural and crop damage in Bula, TX.
Additional reports of wind damage were received in Petersburg and McAdoo. In Petersburg, the roof to a gas station was completely removed and landed on a nearby residence. Winds were estimated to be near 80 mph in Petersburg.
Some believe something more than just winds, a tornado, impacted the South Plains but the National Weather Service said that's not the case.
"A lot of people think that if you get damage that's significant and sort of surprises folks, that it must have been a tornado but 100 mph winds will do the same thing," Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jody James said. "Whether it's a straight-line wind, down burst or a tornado, the damage pattern is a little bit different but the strength of the winds is the same but it can do some significant damage."
James stresses the importance of being prepared for severe weather, even outside of the normal season.
"We can get severe weather and even tornadoes any time of the year but they are much more likely in those months of April into early June," James said. "As we saw, we are in September, and we can obviously got damage. It's a good reminder to pay attention to the weather and those watches and warnings year-round."