By Kevin M. Smith
Killeen Daily Herald
A small tornado made a brief touchdown in Killeen on Friday afternoon, terrorizing residents of an apartment complex and some houses on the eastern edge of town.
"We're the lucky ones – the Dumpster didn't land in our living room," Martina Herrera said.
Herrera's husband, Antonio, was sitting on the patio of their apartment a little after 5 p.m. Sunday when he saw the small tornado rip through the parking lot. Antonio rushed into his apartment, where his wife was making sandwiches and a friend was using the computer.
"It sounded like a train was going through our apartment," Martina said.
They huddled in the bathroom for about 30 seconds as the twister – about 300 feet from their building –
tossed dumpsters and other debris around the complex. It peeled off the top layer of several apartment building roofs, knocking down air conditioner units and moving cars.
Martina said they had no idea it was coming.
"We didn't get a warning here, and here it comes," she said.
Martina said the lights went out about a minute and a half before the tornado hit.
Then the Herreras had some options: sleep on the floor with no electricity in an empty apartment in their complex, stay at their current apartment with no electricity or go to the Killeen Community Center. They said they wanted to stay in their wet apartment to ensure there was no looting.
"We've been flooded and tornadoed in 24 hours," Martina said.
Martina's friend, Andrea Jacobs, is from California. This was her first tornado.
"It got quiet and it felt weird," said Jacobs, who has lived in Killeen about a year.
That's when Antonio rushed into the room to tell them there was a tornado.
Glenn Maddox was coming home in time to watch it rip the roof off his second-story apartment.
"I've been through a couple," Maddox said.
He was taking his family to Austin to stay with a friend for the weekend until electricity was restored.
The tornado was first reported at about 5:10 p.m. between the 700 and 1000 block of Twin Creek Drive in eastern Killeen. The twister went on a northwest track, uprooting trees, knocking down fences, tearing up portions of buildings, including a dry cleaner business on Rancier Avenue, before hitting the Allora Way apartment complex in the 4100 block of East Rancier Avenue. It skipped through Long Branch Park, causing minor damage.
"It just kind of bounced around," said Carroll Smith, Killeen Police Department spokesperson.
Smith said no injuries were reported.
"But there is quite a bit of damage to residences," she said.
According to the National Weather Service, the funnel cloud was spotted over Fort Hood, but as of press time no damage was reported on post.
A shelter for residents affected by the floods and tornado is at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.
Contact Kevin M. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7550