Pasadena businesses began picking up debris Monday after a tornado swept through parts of the city the day before, downing power lines and trees, damaging homes and businesses and forcing the cancellation of classes at one school.
No injuries were reported in the storm, which the National Weather Service reported as an EF-1 tornado, meaning it had winds between 86 and 110 mph. Pasadena ISD officials canceled classes at South Houston High School, which lost power on Sunday.
“The tornado had a strange path, but it looks like it went down Shaver and turned diagonally up to Spencer Highway towards the bus barn,” Pasadena ISD spokesman Art Del Barrio said.
Del Barrio could not say whether power would be restored in time for classes Tuesday.
According to the City of Pasadena’s Office of Emergency Management, the storm primarily left power lines down and tree limbs strewn throughout the city, causing outages at more than 30 small businesses and at least two apartment complexes. The businesses remained shuttered Monday.
At Sra. Churros at 3919 Shaver, sisters Gladys Flores and Carolyn Flores spent most of Monday morning throwing out $700 worth of ice cream and other dairy products spoiled when their pastry shop lost power.
“We’re probably going to be closed for a few days, so that’s more money lost,” Gladys Flores said.
The owner of a Thai restaurant a few doors down from Sra. Churro had to throw all his food supplies away, and the Michoacán across the street remained closed.
It’s a blow to businesses, said Carolyn Flores, but most are eager to get back to work.
“I’m ready,” she said. “We just have to push through and get through it because this is our livelihood.”
The intensity of the storm was a surprise to most, said Carlos Reyes, who lives a few blocks away from where the tornado hit. On Monday, he was visiting family members who were still in darkened apartment complexes.
“Nothing like that has ever happened here,” he said.
At Sra. Churro, an employee had been at the shop alone, preparing for the regular Sunday opening when about 1:20 p.m., she started making frantic calls to her bosses.
Carolyn Flores was on her way to work when she got the call.
“She was scared, and I could hear that in her voice… she could hear the wind howling and it was dark,” she said. “In my head I was thinking, ‘Please don’t let her go outside’ because we are the only business open here (in a strip center) so she was alone.”
Sayra Lemus, who was working at the counter of the El Borrego Taqueria food truck in a parking lot at Shaver, had never seen a tornado before. It was sudden and intense, she said.
“My coworker told me ‘Here it comes’ – but I didn’t know what she meant,” Lemus said. “When I came to look out of the window counter, we saw the wind twisting as it hit that building across the street, and then it was coming toward us. We were afraid and got down on the floor and stayed there.
“I just thank God nothing happened to us,” Lemus said. The truck was open for business Monday morning.
The damage assessment began at Sra. Churro almost immediately after the storm. When Flores arrived, she noticed a sign that had been in the parking of her shop was now laying across the street, and power lines blocked the front door to her shop.
Sra. Churros was scheduled to participate in a fundraiser at University of Houston on Tuesday and the sisters were expecting to go ahead with those plans. Most of Monday was going to be spent re-organizing and re-purchasing supplies.
But those are material concerns, said Flores.
“We can buy everything again, and we’re just happy no one was hurt,” she said.
by Yvette Orozco (2019, Apr 8) Chron