›› Twisters mangle 50 homes in Sienna Plantation.
Green sky where roof had been shakes up Missouri City family
The outer edges of Hurricane Harvey whipped through Fort Bend County early Saturday, sending a tornado up a single street, ripping roofs off rafters, tearing porches off homes, and snapping dozens of thick, tall trees as if they were dry saplings.
At least 12 houses were visibly damaged on Vieux Carre, a street of stately homes with arched entryways, wroughtiron fences and old trees in Sienna Plantation, a Missouri City suburb just south of Sugar Land.
The county emergency management office said 50 houses were hit in total, most sustaining minor damage. It was the worst of Harvey’s impact on Houston so far.
The Saturday storm, ranked by the National Weather Service as a minor tornado, pulled down full brick walls on Vieux Carre, crumbling the remnants into yards like ancient ruins. It plucked 12-foot long, 4-inch thick support beams from porches and roofs, and threw them into yards or impaled them into neighboring homes, where they still stuck out of yards and roofs later Saturday morning.
Multiple residents said dam-
age to their homes was so bad, rain fell unabated into their kitchens and living rooms.
“We have no roof up there,” said Jamie Ellis, 48, nodding to his second floor. “We have a sun roof.”
Ellis said he was catching up on the HBO hit “Game of Thrones” upstairs at about 1:30 a.m. when the storm hit. His wife, Stacie, yelled from downstairs to grab their son, Zachary, 15.
“All of a sudden, it was so loud,” Ellis said. “You could feel the whole house shake.”
Ellis bolted from the TV room. As he ran down the hallway toward his son’s room, he felt debris hitting his face.
Then he saw a green sky open up to his left, where the roof should have been.
He grabbed Zachary and ran downstairs, into the master bedroom closet, with his wife. But by then, the storm had passed.
Saturday morning, residents took stock of the damage. In ponchos, raincoats and pajamas, they walked dogs, skipping around tree limbs, signs, brick and beam. They got out pots and buckets to put under drips inside. Many were on their phones, telling loved ones they were OK, or trying to get through to their insurance companies. A few walked back to their own, damaged homes after spending fitful nights with more fortunate neighbors.
Around 7 a.m., the sound of chain saws interrupted the steady drum of rain. By midday, rain had subsided and the street filled with homeowners and friends cleaning up. They picked up bricks, dragged wood into piles and combed yards for glass, shingles and debris. An army of roof repairmen, plywood piled high in their trucks, stapled thick tarps over roof holes.
“We read on Facebook it was bad,” said Haley Kovar, 24, who was helping a friend cleanup. “We had no idea it was this bad.”
Residents marveled at the aid. “It’s such a small neighborhood,” said Masha Sharf, 32. “Everybody’s so close.”
Still, in the light, the extent of the damage was clearer. Behind a shattered window gaped a missing roof. Next to a bent fence, a towering stone fireplace had toppled. A kayak, once stored in a backyard, had been picked up and thrown into a front yard instead. And at least one thick, tall tree, while unbroken, had bent over until its crown touched the ground.
Harvey rendered homeless several in Sienna on Saturday, at least temporarily. With more rain on the horizon, some still weren’t sure where they’d end up that night. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter.com/@davidhunn
Abel Carre’o of Yellowstone Landscaping clears downed branches in the Sienna Plantation community in Missouri City. Early Saturday, Hurricane Harvey spawned a tornado believed responsible for damage to as many as 50 homes in the area.
“We have a sun roof,” quipped Jamie Ellis, pictured standing outside his damaged Sienna Plantation home.
A streetlight was knocked down Saturday in Sienna Plantation.
A brick fence is damaged at the housing development.
Inside Ellis’ home, rainwater falls on the second floor as a result of Hurricane Harvey.