Locals in Bertram, Texas, were left devastated after a destructive storm hit on March 22, leaving many buildings in the downtown area with significant structural damage.
It only takes one.
Less than a week after a worrisome severe weather outbreak threatened states throughout the South and placed millions in danger, it was a separate, seemingly minor night of strong winds that nearly turned disastrous in Bertram, Texas, Monday night.
A survey team from the National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed that the storm that ripped through Bertram was not a tornado, but the damage left in its wake is shocking. The culprit was straight-line winds. These powerful winds scattered debris throughout the Hill County town and multiple businesses were left in ruins.
Within the town, multiple buildings, including one historic location, were damaged Monday night. The Bertram Blend and Boutique, owned by Amanda Powell, was opened just two years ago, but is now reduced to rubble.
The storm shortly before 10 p.m., local time, according to reports from the NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
"Oh my God. I mean, what are we going to do? I mean, this is our business," Powell told KVUE. "I've built it up, you know, from nothing. I've worked my butt off for it. Just like all these other businesses in Bertram," she continued, noting that several local businesses were impacted by the storm.
Next to Powell's boutique, the historic A.B McGill & Co. building was also completely destroyed. According to jeffreyhayes.com, the building was constructed nearly 150 years ago in 1871, predating the establishment of the town of Bertram itself.
Elsewhere in town, the area's library had all of its windows destroyed and many other buildings were damaged.
Emily Ann Cavalcanti, a Bertram resident, walked through her disheveled town late Monday night with a camera, capturing footage and narrating the destruction during a haunting live stream on her Facebook page. Along with panning over Powell’s boutique, which Cavalcanti recalls having been an old barbecue spot, she documented destruction to the library and at A.B. McGill.
“This is the A.B. McGill building, guys,” she can be heard saying in the video. “Or what was the A.B. McGill building. Just absolutely sickening.”
While Bertram was the only area to see extensive damage, other portions of Texas got a share of notable weather Monday night as well. In the western portion of the state, strong wind gusts greater than 75 mph were recorded in multiple areas while reports of hail dotted the central areas of Texas.
In all, a total of 30 hail reports were submitted to the SPC, with golf ball-sized ice chunks denting cars, covering roads and breaking lights in numerous places.
With multiple days of cleanup left ahead for the area, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk said conditions should be helpful for the Texas residents this week, although not for their neighbors to the east.
Tuesday's cleanup efforts will happen under sunny and dry conditions, and while thunderstorms may come this week, they are not expected to be severe.
"An upper-level storm and its cold front will move into the area tomorrow night and move away Thursday morning," Houk said. "Although there will be a couple of showers and thunderstorms that move through during this time, it looks like they will remain mostly scattered."
Farther east, however, the coming days are likely to be anything but pleasant.
Monday night was just the first round of a stretch of multiple days of severe weather that are forecast to strike Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee with heavy rain and severe thunderstorms.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "all facets of severe weather will be possible on Thursday" of this week, including the chance for isolated tornadoes in the Mississippi River Delta region.
Bertram residents, who got the first taste of that outbreak, will certainly know how to relate.
"This was my favorite building," a passerby can be heard telling Cavalcanti as she walked by the destroyed historic general store.
"I know," Cavalcanti said. "It's so sad."
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