An EF-2 tornado with winds up to 120 mph hit Bryan on Wednesday, injuring at least one man and causing damage to one house and four commercial buildings and warehouses.
“As fast as I accelerated, it was crazy. I mean, it was nuts. Nothing like I have ever felt,” says Kevin Fitzgerald, who hid in the bathroom.
Fitzgerald started to hear hail hitting the roof of the building and started to see the doors bow in. That’s when he decided he needed to hide.
“Then I saw the building, the wall, the bathroom come up. And I felt myself get pulled. Next thing I know, I was going fast through the air and getting hit by all kinds of things. When I landed, a bunch of stuff landed on top of me,” Fitzgerald explains. “See that little space in there? That’s where I was.”
Fitzgerald now has a broken foot and bruises all over his body.
Right across the street, Danny Morrison’s business Epicures Catering felt the same thing.
“I thought it was maybe hail, so I openned the door and I saw things swirling in the air. So I knew it was a tornado at that moment,” Morrison says. “I saw the wall move in on me, and when I saw the wall, I just froze. I just said, ‘Lord, if you want me, take me. You know it’s not my choice, it’s yours.'”
Dan Reilly, who is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Houston/Galveston National Weather Service Office, says this wasn’t your typical tornado.
“This tornado didn’t have a great appearance on radar. It didn’t even show up as a thunderstorm – more of a shower. This type of tornado can develop a little bit differently than more of our typical ones, which are big ol’ thunderstorms with deep circulations,” Reilly says. “This one, we think, kind of spun up very quickly from the ground up. And it’s something we want to look back at – to kind of understand better.”
Reilly classified this tornado as an EF-2, which he says is pretty significant.
“Most tornadoes we get in this area are EF-0 and EF-1, but this seems to rate EF-2 as far as the worst of the damage in this area,” Reilly explains. “The winds, we think, on the order of 120 mph where we had the most severe damage, probably on the order of 100 mph over the larger track.”
The National Weather says the tornado started around 4:42pm on FM 1179 and Coyote Run Road then ended around 4:47pm on Old Reliance Road and Merka Drive.
Brazos County Emergency Management Coordinator Michele Meade said they started to get notifications about a possibile tornado around 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, and then immeditatly started to receive damage reports.
“It was confined to a relatively small area. Obviously, we had lots of reports of trees down, power lines down, that type of thing. Most of the structural damage was confined to the Coyote Run area,” Meade explains.
Fitzgerald and Morrison are both grateful to be here today.
“We are so blessed to be here and so happy to be here. All of this can be fixed or replaced,” Morrison explains. “To see the buildilng in the shape it’s in, it’s kind of hard to believe we were inside of it when it happened.”
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it’s crazy. It’s pretty scary,” Fitzgerald says.
There is a GoFundMe set up to help Epicures Catering. You can find the link by clicking here.