EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY- A severe storm that moved through Montgomery County Friday afternoon dropped huge hail and strong winds, damaging cars and buildings and uprooted trees and tore down power lines as it traveled toward Liberty County. It came quickly and intensified with little warning, gaining momentum as it moved. Hail was reported in Montgomery just before 4 p.m., and then in the Conroe area just after 4.
The county’s CodeRed system alerted subscribers at 3:58 p.m. of the potential for heavy rains, strong winds, and damaging hail. All of those conditions occurred, with the worst of it east of Cut & Shoot.
Some residents reported softball size hail and winds that blew out windows and tore off roofs.
County employees cleared downed trees and large limbs along Crockett Martin Road and said the Deerwood Subdivision off of that road had an extensive amount of debris.
Shortly after 5 p.m., the storm had blown through and left stranded vehicles in its wake, parked along SH 105 with shattered windshields and dented hoods and roofs. One of those vehicles was an SUV belonging to a Newlywed couple in their 70’s who were en route to a Lake Conroe resort for their honeymoon.
Ray and Linda Cooper were westbound, around six miles east of the Liberty County line, when they say it got very dark before mammoth hail appeared out of nowhere.
“I was driving an all of a sudden it was like a baseball hit my windshield, and then the glass came all over us and then it just kept hitting,” Linda Cooper said. “It was just like somebody throwing baseballs at us.”
Tiny shards of glass flew toward the couple and both said they were thankful to be wearing glasses so their eyes were not damaged.
“When I pulled over, we both put our heads down against the backseat to keep the glass from getting us because it just kept hitting,” she said. “We had about six licks with the big
Ray Cooper said when the first large ball of hail struck, he thought they hit a bird, but then it continued.
Woman identified as Melody, was traveling from Houston to her home in Cut & Shoot when she saw the couple on the side of the road and stopped, then waited with them until help arrived.
Despite their misfortune, the Coopers were upbeat and even giddy, as any newlyweds would be on their way to their honeymoon destination.
At the Bargain Barn Resale Outlet west of Security, owners Troy and Carol Wisenbaker had their business and vehicles damaged by the hail that made holes in the roof and car windshields, and the rain that followed.
“It was almost like watching a twister movie,” Troy Wisenbaker said. “Then it started raining hail balls and pelted the building the cars- a window in my shop, when the hail hit it blew a window 33 feet from one side of my shop to the other.”
The building’s tin roof was peppered with holes which Troy Wisenbaker said looked as though someone used a shotgun. He said the last hurricane was not nearly as bad for his property.
“This made Ike look like a puddle of water,” Wisenbaker said.
Five of the couple’s six kids, Austin, Kattrina, Brooke, Brittany and Stormy were with them at the family business. The parents say the children became hysterical when the storm hit. The family moved to a middle room where they huddled hoping the roof stayed on.
Kaylyn, 15, was at home about five minutes away when the weather got bad. Her parents called, and though she claimed to be “fine” her mom went to pick her up as soon as the weather let up a bit.
Ironically, 11-year-old Stormy was the most outspoken about her reaction to the storm.
“I had a nervous breakdown, that’s how bad it was,” she said.
Oddly enough, Stormy’s sister is 12-year-old Kattrina, who was also very frightened.
“It was really scary,” she said. “I thought it was a tornado at first.”
People were stranded or stopped for safety up and down the east end of SH 105, but Montgomery County was luckier than its neighbor.
Just past the county line, downtown Cleveland was hard hit. Among the damage was the roof of a building near the hospital ripped off completely, an overturned 18-wheeler on a side street; and a utility pole crashing through the hardware store. The hail continued into south Liberty County, but in that area it was much smaller, the winds were weaker and the storm caused far less damage in the Dayton and Liberty areas.
The weather also brought cooler temperatures, with the high on Saturday expected to be around 60 degrees accompanied by clear skies and sunshine, according to the National Weather Service