“Pictures don’t do it justice,” the mayor said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in real life. “
As the sun rose over northwest Dallas on Monday morning it was eerily quiet. Even in one of the areas hardest hit — near Midway and Merrill roads, where a historic elementary is now unusable — all one could hear was the sound of water gushing from broken pipes, filling storm sewers already overfilled. And, the chirping of birds who have no place to perch.
Then, slowly, the morning’s cool still filled with the blare of sirens, the whir of chainsaws. Laughter, too, from neighbors glad to see each other alive. And sobbing, from residents only beginning to absorb the devastation wrought by the tornado that savaged so much of the area I’ve called home most of my life.
From Walnut Hill and Stemmons Freeway to Preston Road and Royal Lane to Forest Lane near North Central Expressway — a mammoth incision sliced into the heart of North Dallas — over and over and over the scene replicates itself. Around every corner, down every street, it’s the same awful thing: cars crushed beneath giant trees, roofs torn away, brick chimneys collapsed, giant trees splintered, metal sheets dangling from tree limbs like carelessly hung ornaments.
“When you’ve never had a tornado in your city, one like this, who knows how long it will take to recover?” said council member Jennifer Staubach Gates as we drove and walked her hard-hit district — my district. “How long will it take to put it back together?”
5:39 PM on Oct 21, 2019