On Saturday, December 26, 2015, parts of Collin and Ellis Counties suffered significant damage when an EF3 tornado travelled through Rowlett, Garland and other areas. The National Weather Service confirmed that it was a tornado that injured 23 people on the northwest side of Rowlett.

State of Disaster

Mayor Todd Gottel declared a state of disaster in Rowland after the 7 PM tornado struck the town. The hardest hit areas of the city are Lakeview Parkway between Chiesa and Dalrock. There are no reports of fatalities in the area and there were no residents trapped or unaccounted for on Sunday. According to officials, 80 homes were completely destroyed while 187 suffered major damage. Only 79 homes had no damage while 12 suffered slight damage and 155 suffered minor damage. Power was still out in some areas on Monday, December 28 and there is a 24-hour curfew in affected areas with only emergency personnel permitted in blocked areas. The Martha Lane water tower was drained after it sustained damage and a 300-foot radius around the tower evacuated until its structural integrity can be evaluated.

Tornado Siren

According to Fire Chief Neil Howard, the fact that the city sounded the tornado sirens four times prior to the tornado as well as during the event may have saved many lives. City Manager Brian Funderburk said that the clean-up will be a long-term process and that the city is keeping “boots on the ground” as long as necessary to help rebuild the town. Chief Howard said that the tornado spread a mile wide and traveled for as much as four miles, leaving devastation in its path.

Shelters Arranged

Shelters were arranged at Steadham Elementary School, located at 6200 Dandridge Road. The American Red Cross set up services in the school, providing food and shelter to those whose homes were no longer inhabitable. The American Red Cross is suggesting monetary donations to help victims although the Lakepointe Church Rockwell and First United Methodist Rowlett were still excepting donations of supplies as of Monday. Social media has shared photos of pets found and missing, helping owners reunite with their four-legged family members. The Rowlett Animal Shelter and Premier Vet Care are open and accepting lost pets and volunteers. Those who have lost pets are encouraged to call 972-712-6219.

Volunteer Opportunities

City official say that many people have reached out to them, asking how to volunteer their assistance. The city asks that those who wish to volunteer wait a few days until the situation and need has been assessed by emergency personnel. However, any volunteers who are skilled or trained in emergency situations are needed immediately and they should contact the city as soon as possible.

Texas averages approximately 155 tornadoes each year, some with devastating consequences. AAA Air is ready and willing to assist any homeowner whose home was damaged by the recent tornado. If your HVAC system was damaged by flying debris during the tornado that struck Rowland on the day after Christmas, contact us online or by phone today and let us help you get your system back up and running.

Rowlett Lakeshore Times