Gaines County Cleans Up After Hurricane Force Winds - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/28/07-Gaines County, Texas

Gaines County Cleans Up After Hurricane Force Winds

Seminole continues to clean up after violent storms packing winds in excess of 100 miles per hour hit there Tuesday night.

"Heavy rain, winds, downed power lines, tree limbs, power outages all over town," Stephen Vaughn said.

Vaughn is an Andrews' resident who works in Seminole. But he's also a first responder, called out Tuesday night because of the storm.

"Your first priority is the lives. Who might be around. We train. Seminole trains, Andrews trains extensively," Vaughn said.

But that extensive training, Steven says, could never had prepared them for mother natures fury. Tuesday night's storm brought winds in excess of 98 miles per hour. Put more simply, category 2 hurricane force winds.

"That's the first concern. Individuals lives and safety," Gaines County Sheriff Jon Key said.

Key recalls Tuesday night and he has more than just his family and friends to worry about, but rather, the whole town.

"It's pretty devastating because to start with, you really don't know the extent of the damage and the extent of the injuries. And of course we're very thankful that we didn't have any fatalities and right now it appears that there wasn't any serious injuries," Key said.  

Damage to buildings, homes and businesses can be seen across the small South Plains town. From a downed 300 foot radio tower, that residents say stood for more than 50 years, to uprooted trees, the roof of Bealls Department Store caving in and snapped telephone polls... One might think that damage like this will take a great deal of time to be repaired, but Sheriff Key says quite the opposite is true.

"Crews have done and excellent job. Of course the city of Seminole. Commissioners of the precincts have had their crews assisting in cleaning up. It's really surprising how quickly these crews can get in and get the roads opened back up," Key said.

And as Seminole begins to clean up and move on just a day after those hurricane like winds, the Sheriff isn't surprised at all in his towns resilience.

He said, "One thing about our community is, when we have something happen like this everybody pulls together."

Story provided KCBD Raycom Media. All rights reserved.

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