By Joe Southern
A brief but fierce storm blew through the region Valentine’s Day morning around 8:45 a.m., including a tornado that caused property damage in Stafford but did not injure anyone.
“It went from west to east on the north side of Stafford down Greenbrier,” said Jennifer Taylor, Stafford’s emergency management coordinator.
A command center was set up at the Stafford Centre and crews made a rapid response to the storm. A lot of the damage appeared to be in the area of Cash and Murphy roads.
“There were no injuries,” Taylor said. “Several businesses sustained damage such as roof damage … One business had an exterior wall damaged.”
Weatherford Farms Nursery suffered flooding and damage to several of its greenhouses. Across the street the front façade of Yukon Glass vanished and nearby at Dee’s Plumbing the rear wall collapsed. Several other businesses had obvious roof, wall and signage damage and tree limbs were down everywhere in the area.
“Power lines were down from the Fountains over to Cash Road,” Taylor said.
She said the damage was quickly repaired by CenterPoint Energy.
Taylor said the National Weather Service and the Weather Channel were both out investigating the storm and damage. They made the determination that a tornado did go through but they have not yet determined its size.
“A couple people said they saw funnel clouds,” Taylor said.
She said the permits department was immediately on scene inspecting damaged buildings and she noted that many companies had insurance adjusters and even contractors at work before noon.
“We’re very lucky there were no injuries at all,” she said.
In Missouri City, heavy rains and winds struck the area causing some property damage and one traffic lane closure. The severe weather damaged traffic signals at the following intersections: Lexington Boulevard and Murphy Road; and Lexington Boulevard and Brightwater Drive. A downed tree at 4100 Lexington briefly caused one traffic lane to be closed as well.
As many as 40 homes in the Brightwater subdivision reported minor roof damage, downed fences, and escaped pets. Very few power outages are reported in the city and no injuries have been reported.
Public works crews are removing debris from area streets and inspections and permits staff are assisting homeowners with completing and filing necessary paperwork needed for repairs.
Travelers in the Fort Bend County area are urged to remain cautious of the significant impacts to structures along the Murphy Road/Greenbriar Drive corridor, emergency management officials advise. The officials also advise motorists to drive with caution and avoid walking along streets with damage until proper cleanup is complete.