Early-Morning Storm Brings Golf Ball Size Hail, Damage to Orange Grove

Jim Wells County officials said 60-70 mile per hour winds driving large chunks of hail through Orange Grove overnight Friday, causing some significant damage.

The hail storm made many residents believe a tornado was headed their way. Thankfully there were no tornadoes, but the winds and hail left behind quite a bit of damage.

One home in Orange Grove seemed to suffer the worst of the hail damage, with at least 12 plate glass windows shattered on one side. There were five family members asleep inside when the storm hit, and homeowner Tina Cole said it was terrifying.

"At about 4:30 a.m., we started hearing hail coming down, so we got up," Cole said. "Then all of a sudden, the glass just started breaking. So we got everybody out of the bedrooms and closed the doors, and we got downstairs in the middle of the hallway and just stayed there, and then when it was all said and done, this is what we saw."

Cole said the hail stones were coming through the windows horizontally by the force of the wind. Despite the broken glass, no one was hurt, and Cole said the damage was covered by insurance.

Not everyone was so lucky.

Francis Rivera lost everything in her bedroom to rain that came in through a window broken out by hail. The hail crashing through her window woke her out of a sound sleep.

"After I heard the noise, I came outside and said 'What is going on?' And then I heard the noise, that it was the hail. A lot of it," Rivera said. "And it hit on my windowsill and everything inside my room is gone."

Rivera has sons who are helping her clean up and repair the damaged windows, house siding and shutters.

County Judge Arnold Saenz said there were spots of damage around the county, but the highest concentration was in Orange Grove.


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