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City Still Recovering Three Years After Tornados

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Aerial view of damage from tornados three years ago. | Image by NBC DFW

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It has been three years since an EF-3 tornado, along with several other smaller twisters, wreaked havoc during a severe weather storm in North Texas.

On Sunday night, October 20, 2019, a tornado with winds reaching up to 140 miles per hour touched down near the Dallas Love Field Airport, causing substantial damage to the surrounding areas.

The twister was on the ground for 32 minutes and traveled for 15 miles on its destructive path through North Dallas, damaging hundreds of structures and destroying others.

The storm damaged buildings such as schools, homes, large retail businesses, and infrastructure, much of which still shows signs of the tornados.

Three years after the storm, Dallas Independent School District’s (DISD) Thomas Jefferson High School is still closed due to the damage sustained.

Teacher Vanessa Somchith described driving by the destroyed campus the day after the hurricane, “It was devastating … A tragic scene.”

The tornado also destroyed Dallas Fire and Rescue Station 41 along Royal Lane, but new facilities are slated for construction, and construction crews recently spent the day clearing the area for the new fire station. For now, the firefighters are operating out of a temporary station.

It is estimated that the storm caused $1.5 billion in damages, making it the costliest storm in Texas history.

The storm, however, did not meet the requirements in order to warrant a FEMAS Disaster Declaration, meaning that federal funds were not available for rebuilding.

Recently, traffic lights damaged by the storm were just replaced in August. Dallas city councilman Omar Narvaez explained that the $334,000 needed to pay for the repairs had to be sourced through various means.

“We finally were able to achieve those dollars thanks to different grants and different ways to get funding, and so we’ll be able to see those traffic signals restored finally,” Narvaez suggested.

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