Saturday, May 6, 2006
No deaths or serious injuries have been reported; however, there is a tremendous amount of damage in 15 areas of the city, leading Mayor Virgina DuPuy to declare the city a disaster area.
The hardest hit area was Franklin Avenue, where the Coca-Cola bottling plant’s roof was peeled open as if by a giant can-opener. There were Sprite bottles spread out onto the street. The nearby Furniture Row shopping center was also hit hard. Some furniture was found as far as three-quarters of a mile away. Other hard-hit areas were Robinson, Hewitt, Woodway, and Speegleville. Densely populated Inner Waco was spared of any catastrophic damage, though hundreds, and possibly thousands, of trees have fallen, and roofs destroyed.
The main concern is restoring power to over 23,000 households and businesses. Many gas stations and grocery stores in the disaster areas were closed until power is restored. Those that remained open have had to throw out all perishable items. Also of concern is getting electricity to those with medical needs. The city has provided help to those without power at the Dewey Recreation Center.
The storm is the hardest to hit the area since the tornado that struck on May 11, 1953, which tore through downtown and killed 114 people.
Waco has seen more than its share of tornadoes recently. Only a week ago, an F1 tornado damaged many houses along Orchid and Kendall Lanes. No people were injured, though two horses were killed when their stable collapsed.
The National Weather Service confirmed this morning’s winds were a F2 tornado, where wind speeds may have reached 115 miles per hour in some locations.