Apparent Tornado Hits Whitehouse - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/4/04 - Whitehouse

Apparent Tornado Hits Whitehouse

Residents in the Quail Run Subdivision in Whitehouse had a scary few moments this evening when an apparent tornado touched down just to the west of them. Debris could be seen scattered throughout the neighborhood. David Smith had a fence post crash through his sons window.

"I've never been through a tornado before," said Smith. "I've heard about it, but when I heard that window break, I knew what was it. We went straight for the closet."

Only a few moments after the storm, residents were out of their homes, assessing the damage, and sharing their stories.

"I just, the wind and then I went to the closet," said Connie Gilcrest. "I wasn't waiting around."

"My wife was crying, the kids were crying," said Quentin Mims, "and we had to go get some more kids from another house because their parents weren't home, so you just got to try to stay calm the best you can."

City officials say power was knocked out to about half of the town, including the cities main intersections, where police officers struggled to keep traffic flowing. Power crews were quick to respond, and had most of the electricity back on within 90 minutes.

"Fortunately, we had plenty of warning ahead of time," said Whitehouse City Manager and Fire Chief Ronny Fite. "All of the storm spotters throughout the county had been activated."

That advanced warning proved beneficial, as no injuries were reported in the area.

Kevin Berns reporting

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