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Memorial weekend tornado wrecks marinas, causes property damage

Memorial weekend tornado wrecks marinas, causes property damage

By Abigail Allen

Editor & Publisher

       The tornadoes that devastated Valley View and Celina on Saturday night caused chaos and damage in Pilot Point.

       Affected residents and property owners, city staff, volunteers and professionals have worked together since the storm dissipated Saturday to clear the debris throughout the city.

       “It’s just been overwhelming,” City Manager Britt Lusk said. “It’s been amazing. I can’t say enough about how great everybody that’s been involved has been.”

       Several cities sent crews to help—public works teams from cities including Aubrey, Carrollton, Denison, Frisco, Grand Prairie, Sherman and Richardson, largely dispatched through the Public Works Emergency Response Team, as well as the Fort Worth Community Emergency Response Team.

       Crews of volunteers met with city staff on the Pilot Point Square early Sunday morning before dispersing throughout Pilot Point to help remove damaged trees.

Memorial weekend tornado wrecks marinas, causes property damage

       Pilot Point resident Wendell Mize was one of the first to arrive.

       “We’ve got a bunch of people in this community that can’t help themselves, and small towns thrive off of [helping each other],” he said.

       One of the residents who received the help, Louise “Lu” Edland, said she appreciated the assistance.

       “My hubby and I are both in our 80’s,” she said. “He’s 88 and just got out of the hospital, so it means a lot.”

       The crew of Public Works employees Shannon O’Rear, Otis Jackson and Joseph Teichmer took to the street.

       O’Rear and Teichmer gathered the limbs and cut up large sections of tree limbs for Jackson to lift with a skid steer that looked like an extension of himself.

       One of Pilot Point’s newest residents, Kimmi Mounts, moved into town from Arkansas less than a week before the storm.

       “I have actually never been in a tornado,” she said. “… Luckily we have a very welcoming community and a helpful community to help us out today.”

       Her landlord, Ted Fisher, was on the roof Sunday morning, cutting down the tree that fell on the house’s roof.

Memorial weekend tornado wrecks marinas, causes property damage

       Several professional tree service companies came to town to lend their expertise, including Brandon Stinchcomb of Stinchcomb Lawn and Tree.

       “We’ve all got to band together,” he said. “Small communities have all got to take care of each other.”

       Disaster Aid USA and Lutheran Disaster Care were a couple of the organizations that came out as well to help.

       The storm, which killed seven and injured more than 100 in Valley View, was projected to head straight to Pilot Point, but it took a turn north instead, cycling from one tornado into a new one east of Pilot Point, said Meteorologist Allison Prater with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

       “We call this a cyclic supercell,” she said. “So, it recycled rotation. The initial rotation that went through Valley View … was supposed to go directly towards Pilot Point. … Pilot Point was in the path of the storm.”

       It weakened as it turned toward Tioga, Prater said.

Memorial weekend tornado wrecks marinas, causes property damage

       “A secondary area of rotation ended up forming a little further east of Pilot Point and went toward Celina,” she said.

       There was also another distinct but brief EF1 tornado that hit Lake Ray Roberts, destroying the Ray Roberts Marina and the homes near it in Sanger.

       An EF1 and an EF3 satellite tornado made their way to Celina.

       The Valley View tornado was an EF3, which is the storm that dissipated and weakened over Pilot Point.

       When the National Weather Service releases its full findings about the rating, wind speeds, path length and width of the tornadoes, that data will be available at

       People with damage from the storm can go to or can call 800-621-3362 to apply for help from FEMA.

       Denton County is willing to offer help, the county said, through emailing the person’s name, address, phone number and damage description to

       Property owners and residents are also encouraged to fill out an iSTAT Damage Survey at

       “Donations for Valley View residents are being accepted at the Ag barn behind the football field on Lee Street in Valley View,” the county said in a release. “The only items they need are paper towels, Gatorade, laundry soap, tarps, duct tape, rope, brooms, dust pans, mops, hammers, nails, zip lock bags and coolers.”

       United Way of Denton County is accepting donations for Denton County victims at, and First United Bank in Gainesville is accepting donations under the VOAD Disaster account.


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