Judge John Gothia outlines severe weather damage, county response

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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Orange County Judge John Gothia said severe weather struck Downtown Orange in the form of a fast-moving and high-wind weather cell that caused a full response from many agencies.

“It hit right about 5 p.m., and everybody was already on their way home,” he said. “We called them to get them all to come back. They were in there cleaning it up as quick as they could.”

The county’s road and bridge crewmembers were out Monday night checking all the roads and dealing with downed trees and limbs.

9th Street was temporarily closed between Green Avenue and Elm Street due to a roof tangled in electrical wires across the road. (Courtesy of the City of Orange)

According to the judge, TxDOT crews were out Monday night within the City of Orange where trees fell across those roads, cleaning that out.

“Entergy crews are in there now restoring all the power,” he said.

“Some of our buildings got water damage, but primarily just around windows and doors where it was blowing in. That wind was pretty steady for about 15 minutes around the Downtown Orange area, 16th Street, Green Avenue and through there.”

Some trees were knocked over and a many power lines were hit, leading to outages across the city.

As of Tuesday morning, the county was told by the National Weather Service that there was no indication of a tornado strike, just straight-line winds that were very serious.

“We have not had a lot of people call in a lot of roof complaints yet,” Gothia said as of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. “I’m sure as we go through the rest of (Tuesday) we’ll get more and more of that. I’ve had multiple people call and tell me water leaked through their window because the wind was just blowing the water through the seal. That is mostly what we had in our courthouse and administration building.”

The county has not received any reports of injuries as of Tuesday morning.

“You never know with those weather cells,” Gothia said. “That thing (Monday) was so fast when it popped up until the time it was gone. They are fast moving, which is what you want so they can’t put too much rain on you, but it generates high wind, as well.

“We’ll keep an eye on (more bad weather forecasted this week). We’ve told everybody to pay attention when they get those weather alerts and pay attention to what they are asking you to do.”