By: Doyle Rader
A line of severe afternoon storms swept across Texas and neighboring states on Friday, November 4, bringing heavy rain and wind. These storms also spawned nine tornados in East and Northeast Texas that caused significant damage.
A reported EF-3 tornado touched down northwest of Paris, Texas in Lamar County, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. The American Red Cross North Texas Region responded swiftly, opening a shelter and resource center at the Lamar Avenue Church of Christ in Paris, to meet the needs of the community and begin casework for families.
As dawn broke Saturday morning, Red Cross disaster assessment teams fanned out into communities where tornadoes touched down. Near Lake Crook, northwest of Paris, Red Cross disaster program manager Nena Sopher and volunteer Wesley Pond set out to begin their initial assessments along a county road that saw many homes damaged or destroyed.
“We’re looking for how much of the home has been damaged, what parts of it—the living area versus the backyard or a guest home in the back,” Sopher said. “We’re looking at if two walls that have collapsed versus just one wall or just the roof. We’re making sure that we are categorizing everything correctly so that everyone gets the help that they need and gets the follow-up casework afterward that can assist them.”
As of Sunday evening, 85 percent of disaster assessments were complete in the affected areas across East and Northeast Texas. Casework will begin Monday. Service centers in Paris and Texarkana will handle in-person casework through Friday, November 11. The Red Cross is also providing mobile casework assistance to meet people in need where they are.
For families cleaning up debris and sorting through homes ravaged by tornadoes, starting the recovery process can seem daunting. The Red Cross has recovery resources available to for those in need. Find out how the Red Cross can help by visiting our service centers at the Lamar Avenue Church of Christ in Paris (3535 Lamar Ave.) and the Red Cross office in Texarkana (821 Spruce St.) or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).