By Charlotte Aguilar
It was wind, not water, that dealt a vicious punch to parts of inner-Loop Bellaire and West University Place Sunday (April 7), knocking out power, sending trees toppling, filling streets with debris, and closing two popular Bellaire parks.
While the National Weather Service says the only actual tornado from the severe weather episode was in Pasadena, residents described the sudden windstorm — accompanied at times by lightning, thunder and rain — as frighteningly similar to a tornado.
In West U, City Manager Dave Beach reported tree-related issues over nine blocks. In the 4100 block of Southwestern, a tree fell on a garage apartment, putting a hole in the roof, while a fallen limb damaged the electrical panel and utility weather head in the 6600 block of Buffalo Speedway.
Other damage, according to Beach, included shingles blown off two roofs in the 6300 block of Brompton, bricks from a chimney in the 3600 block of Pittsburg landing in the swimming pool, and damage to Jennie Elizabeth Hughes Park, where one limb fell on a decorative fence and another with a mounted light fell causing damage to the light.
In Bellaire, both Russ Pitman and Evergreen parks remained closed to the public while debris removal and safety assessments of the heavily wooded grounds took place.
On Sunday, crews began the cleanup in the parks and along the adjacent Newcastle path, which involved cutting down a towering tree in Evergreen Park along the playground, which had a split trunk apparently caused by wind damage.
A few blocks away, in the 4500 block of Valerie Street, a massive tree on a vacant lot toppled onto the property next door, taking down a fence and telephone lines, while another fallen tree in Driscoll Park pulled down phone lines with it.
While complaints in Bellaire were largely about power outages, residents could be seen hauling limbs to the curbs, raking debris, and assessing a few fallen fences.
Ironically, the inner-Loop neighborhood that was hit was the one that suffered the worst losses from Hurricane Harvey.