Flood-stalled vehicles, airborne trampoline. Weather Service shares Orange storm reports

Published 11:58 am Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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Stacey Densom rattled off the reports like it was holiday shopping list.

There were tin roofs blown off. Reports of street flooding, with vehicles that stalled in floodwaters. There was even a report of a trampoline getting blown through a fence.

Densom, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was talking about damage sustained Monday evening in Orange County, specifically the City of Orange.

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“We definitely have quite a few reports from around Orange,” she said. “Most of them were in regards to wind damage.”

The Weather Service did record a wind gust reaching 60 miles per hour but there were no confirmed tornado touchdowns in Orange.

The hard rain and excessive wind is not expected to continue into mid-week, but weather watchers are monitoring developments.

“As of right now, we don’t have any severe weather outlined for Wednesday for any of our forecast areas,” Densom said. “That could definitely change, though. We still have rain chances in the forecast, like 40-50 percent for Wednesday, but regarding any severe potential, it doesn’t look like a concern at this point.”

At 11:24 a.m. Tuesday, Entergy Texas said response teams made significant restoration progress.

“The majority of customers have been restored with the exception of customers in Orange County, which was one of the hardest hit areas,” an Entergy statement read. “The majority of Orange County customers are expected to be restored (Tuesday).

We are prepared to respond to weather that moves through our service territory (Tuesday) afternoon.”

County response

Orange County Judge John Gothia said severe weather struck Downtown Orange in the form of a fast-moving and high-wind weather cell that caused a full response from many agencies.

“It hit right about 5 p.m. (Monday), and everybody was already on their way home,” he said. “We called them to get them all to come back. They were in there cleaning it up as quick as they could.”

The county’s road and bridge crewmembers were out Monday night checking all the roads and dealing with downed trees and limbs.

According to the judge, TxDOT crews were out Monday night within the City of Orange where trees fell across those roads, cleaning that out.

“Entergy crews are in there now restoring all the power,” he said.

“Some of our buildings got water damage, but primarily just around windows and doors where it was blowing in. That wind was pretty steady for about 15 minutes around the Downtown Orange area, 16th Street, Green Avenue and through there.”

Some trees were knocked over and a many power lines were hit, leading to outages across the city.

“We have not had a lot of people call in a lot of roof complaints yet,” Gothia said as of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. “I’m sure as we go through the rest of (Tuesday) we’ll get more and more of that. I’ve had multiple people call and tell me water leaked through their window because the wind was just blowing the water through the seal. That is mostly what we had in our courthouse and administration building.”

The county has not received any reports of injuries as of Tuesday morning.

“You never know with those weather cells,” Gothia said. “That thing (Monday) was so fast when it popped up until the time it was gone. They are fast moving, which is what you want so they can’t put too much rain on you, but it generates high wind, as well.

“We’ll keep an eye on (more bad weather forecasted this week). We’ve told everybody to pay attention when they get those weather alerts and pay attention to what they are asking you to do.”