As the April 3 tornado cut a destructive path down Highway 287, Woody Lynch huddled in his bathroom with his wife, Faye.
Their home rattled and shook. Glass shattered, and the roof caved in. Pressure built in their ears, and Woody and Faye could hear only the train-like roar of the twister.
When the winds finally subsided, Lynch ventured outside to evaluate the damage in their cul-de-sac south of I-20 and Green Oaks Boulevard. The twister uprooted 100-year-old trees, tore roofs off homes and scattered sofas and dining room tables down the street and beyond.
“Everything was uprooted,” Lynch said. “It was devastating.”
Six months after sudden tornadoes tore through Arlington — damaging nearly 500 homes, causing $600 million in damages and injuring eight people — residents have repaired homes and rebuilt neighborhoods, helping each other negotiate with insurance companies, find contractors, clean up debris and plant new trees.
In Woody Lynch’s cul-de-sac, neighbors began working together immediately after the tornado. Some homeowners climbed over broken trees and limbs to check on a wheelchair-bound neighbor, then went door to door taking a head count. Arlington police arrived almost immediately to barricade streets and provide assistance.
“The response of the Arlington police was phenomenal,” Lynch said. “The clean-up effort was extraordinary. The whole neighborhood and whole city worked together.”
In the following days and weeks, workers with heavy machinery cleared trees and limbs, and residents began piecing together their homes.
Art Dennis, who lives in the cul-de-sac, lost nine trees from his yard. Two fell on his backyard patio, one on his garage roof and one on a Jeep Wrangler parked in the driveway.
“Trees were a very big part of our neighborhood. Trees were our neighborhood,” Dennis said. “And they were uprooted and lying everywhere.”
As homeowners began working on repairs, many decided to use the tornado as an opportunity to renovate their homes.
Lynch, whose home sustained $130,000 in damages, updated a sunken living room and vaulted ceiling, replaced exterior wood with brick and landscaped his yard.
Dennis also renovated his home, which received $30,000 in damage, installing insulation in the attic and energy-efficient windows to help compensate for the lack of shade trees.
“Something good can come out of something bad. Our neighborhood has not looked so good since it was first built,” Dennis said. “People are renovating, landscaping, painting, and building new fences. People are taking a lot of pride in their community.”(By: Sarah Bahari, city release)