New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 4, 1994, New Braunfels, Texas
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Now Braunfels Sesquicentennial March 21,1845 March 21,1995
20 Pages in two sections ■ Wednesday, May 4,1994
Serving Comal County for more than 142 years ■ Home of SCOTT ORANEN
SPECIAL REPORT: TORNADOESLocal resident recalls 1975 twister‘I definitely think it saved lives9Officials in Paris, Lancaster believe in the effectiveness of siren warning systems in their communities
By MARK LYON
It took only seconds.
About five or six seconds as New Braunfels resident James R. Reeves figures it In that length of time, the home he shared with wife Earleen was destroyed, totally.
That was almost 19 years ago. Today, and every day since then, Reeves* heart begins racing every time a violent storm is reported
in the vicinity. msaadtoene
The last recorded tor- "5*0 cozens,
nado in New Braunfels romments,
struck on May 23,1975, ravaging the city’s north * „A
side beginning at Caddell Pa9e 4A_
Lane near Texas Highway 46 and continuing across Freiheit Road (FM 1101) and 1-35 and then across U.S. 81 near what is now Frazier Elementary.
Left behind was at least $300,000 in damage (in 1975 dollars) and numerous families homeless. Fortunately, no serious injuries occurred.
Reeves and his wife lived in a mobile home at Wayside Mobile Home Park near U.S. 81, right in the path of the tornado. They had lived there six months, just across the street from his son. Jim, who happened to be away in Blanco with his wife, Janet.
Reeves never saw the tornado which toppled his home. He can only describe an ordinary afternoon which took a mysterious turn for the worse.
“I was watching the news. It was about 6 p.m.,” Reeves recalls. “In fact, I was watching the weather on channel five. I remember that well because they made no mention of a tornado, not even a storm in the area.'My a"~ wife and our granddaughter were in the kitchen when all of the sudden the lights went out. I looked outside and it was just as black as it could be. Then it started raining real hard and then it began hailing. I started to go and move my truck because I had a new camper top on it. But when I went to open th* door, a big gust of wind hit, making a big whooshing sound. I had the door handle in my hand. The next you know, I was on the ceiling with die same door handle in my hand.”
Reeves said he remembers a loud roaring sound, overwhelming him and his family.
The home, anchored by des, rocked back and
New Doppler Radar System will enable National Weather Service to spot and track tornadoes fast
By ROGER CROTEAU
The new Doppler Radar System being installed at the New Braunfels Municipal Airport will enable the National Weather Service to much more quickly and accurately spot tornadoes threatening the area, according to Al Dreumont, area manager for the Weather Service.
The Doppler system will probably be turned on later this week, he said.
The Doppler radar can detect wind speed and direction, even on clear days. The system currently in use, stationed in Hondo, can’t do that. It can only measure the intensity of storms, making it much harder to detect a tornado.
“When a tornado hit Crosby, north of Houston, recently, our Houston office issued a warning 50 minutes before the tornado hit,” Dreumont said. “In November of 1992 the Houston Doppler radar had just come on line; and it spotted 12 tornadoes one day. All 12 developed and were confirmed. Twenty mild-away the old system at Galveston only saw three of them. And the lead time the Doppler system gave was greater, 25 minutes for the one that did the most damage.
Dreumont said having the system stationed in New Braunfels wil. not mean better coverage or foster notification for tornado warnings in New Braunfels than for other areas in the systems coverage area. He said the resolution is actually the best 60 to 80 miles away from the station, and then it drops off slightly out to 125 miles away, the limit of the Doppler effect. Closer than 60 miles to the station, the resolution is very good, he said.
Dreumont said the radar and offices coat about $2 million to install.
The old radar system was designed in 1957. The Doppler system was designed in 1988, although Doppler radar has existed since World War 11. “It is not the Doppler system that is new, but the new high-speed computers have made it a very powerful tool,” he said.
Photo courtesy JAMES REEVES
Tire stopt tor which Jamas Raavaa was about to atop out on Just before a tornado picked up hie mobile home and dropped It on Ila roof still stand In the same place they were before the storm hit
forth a few times before it was pulled into the air and dropped upside down.
His wife was knocked out after being struck in the head during the incident. His granddaughter had fallen under a table and was not hurt.
Reeves estimates that it was about five seconds from the moment he approached his door until the moment his home was left destroyed.
“There was no time at all,” he said. “Almost as soon as I got to the door, the wind hit. It was a real strong gust that scared me enough to make me change my mind and shut the door Before I could shut the door all
the way, it had lifted our home in the air.” The tornado wasn’t the only problefiferf the day, however.
Driving rains which accompanied the winds and hail took its toll as well. Over four inches of rain pelted the city in less than an hour, causing flooding in many areas of the city, including downtown.
Other noticeable damages throughout the city included a bent flag pole at Goodwin Elementary, a tree stuck in the middle of the Mission Valley Mills dam, and numerous uprooted trees.
The storm continued into the western sections of Comal County, dumping more rain
which caused the Guadalupe River to rise by some 17 feet. In Bulverde, a tornado was reported to have touched down briefly, but even 90 left many trees uprooted damaged several bams.
The twister dipped down again in Spring Branch and the community of Anhalt, leaving behind a similar scene.
Reeves said he would like to see the city pursue a siren warning system to lend some advance warning in the event such a disaster returns.
“I'd be all for it,” he said. “We need all the warning we can get. We could have used a warning way back then, too.”
By ROGER CROTEAU
The people of Paris, Texas, will remember April 2, 1982 forever. That was the day a tornado ripped a path of destruction through their town.
Emergency worker! knew the tor-nado wu coming u they tracked it across the grasslands outside the city as it draw a bead on the city.
Tornado warnings had been issued all afternoon, but there wu not much emergency workers could do when they realized the tornado wu ready to hit the city.
Paris had no titan warning system, so police cars, ambulances and fire micks started driving the streets, lights flashing, public address sytoems blaring
out the warning. But many people did not get that warning.
The tornado hit at 4:01 p.m. and in the next eight minutes it ripped a flve-and-a-half mile path through the city, killing 11 people, injuring 130, destroying or damaging hundreds of homes and doing SSO million in damage.
Uke the people of Paris, the people of Lancaster, Texu, will never forget the day last month when a twister rampaged through their city for nine minutes, cutting a six-mile swath, destroying the town square, dozens of businesses and about 200 homes.
But Lancaster had a system of sirens to warn the public of the tornado's approach.
Many in that town credit the sirens with uving their livu.
Thru people were killed and 20 inured by the storm.
“I definitely think it uved livu,”
aud Ladis Barr, Lancaster's emergency management coordinator. 'Talking to people, we found that the sirens were what alerted 60 to 70 percent of the people in the area
ing it is here.”
Lancaster installed the warning system 12 yean ago.
Barr said it had never been used, except for monthly
of devutation to WB had put It In OUT bud* aet**in the right
the danger. They heard the sirens and took cover.”
The sirens were triggered at 9:ll pm md the twiner IM VCT wlN.” Than after
Bat batara tha tornado! hit, but tea atty council •ald Wa haven’t had ana bal ora and wa probably
hit the city nine minutes later, giving residents crucial time to take shelter, Barr said.
T feel we would ha vc had consider
ably more injuries and deaths than we had, (if we did not have the sirens),” he said. "It is a proven system. It works And people sleep better st night know-
yeare he ho been in the city.
“It wu expensive, but it proved to be worth it in the long run,” Barr said. He did not know who the city
-ISlekBoots *P«“ o" the ijc-rmflrnQn.u tem* but hc sai<*
Emergency Management miintenan<* tun, Coordinator - Paris, Texas $1,000 to $2,ooo«
tea tornado HK, they put It book In tea btidpot.'—
Paris, Texas, instolled a system of five sirens to cover the city a couple of months after its 1982 tornado.
The system cost s little more thin
$100,000 and upkeep runs about $1,500 a year, according to Dick Boots, Paris’ emergency management coordinator.
“We had put it in our budget before the tornado hit, but the city council said 'We haven’t had one before and we probably never will,"' he said. “Then after the tornado hit, they put it back in the budget."
Boots said the sysrem his been set off four times tinoe 1982.
Twice twioers touched down in the dty, once there wu straight-line winds of up to IOO miles per hour, and once a funnel cloud wu spotted, but did not touchdown.
“We only sound it if there is a tornado or funnel cloud in close proximity to the city or inside the city itself We want people to realize that when they hear it they need to take cover and take it seriouily,” he said “There
is no doubt about it, people do fed safer with the alarm.”
Al Dreumont, area manager for the National Weather Service, aaid that people in cities without a siren system can improve their chance* of knowing about a tornado warning by pur-chasing a weather radio receiver.
There are both portable and desktop models When the National Weather Service issued a weather warning, the unit automatically turns on, so you can hear the warning even if you do not have a television or radio tumsd on in the house.
Radio Shack, at the Courtyard Plaza, sells two models with weather alert, the feature that turns the radio on automatically when a warning is issued. They sell for $29.99 and $39.99. Tha store was out of the $39 99 model Monday, but a new shipment is expected at the beginning of next week.Inside
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The New Brouette Htrold-Ziitun$ extends the following birthday wishes to; Carosse Strange (belated), David Alford, Evelyn Chisholm, Reinhart Baseliner, Paul Dunlap, Joha Mackie, Darts* Grace, Evelyn Dyal, Prank Villanueva, Rosaaury Robto* Erwin P. Hank, Tosh Paton, Donna Maynard, PoKx Esquivel, John Payton, Emily Greenfield, Thomas Luke, Jeremy Hasard, John Ramos, Joie Rodrigues, Jr* Carmen Reece, Timothy Johnson, Jason Welch. Happy Anniversary So Emu A Abada Helm-camp (14 years!)Today1! weather
By The Associated Press
Tonight, mostly cloudy Low in the upper 60s Southeast wind 6 to 10 mph
\Atodneedey, mostly cloudy in the morning, pertly cloudy In the afternoon. High in the middle 80s,
Southeast wind near 10 mph.Rollan Count
ProviteKl by Frank C Hemp*, M 0
Mown Grass Pacsn
Moderate 1?8 Light 64Watar Watoh
Comal River 380 (down 16) Edwards Aquifer 626.66 (up 06)
Inflow (not available) outflow (not available)
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