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Idaho Red Cross Sends Help To Tornado Victims In Texas

Kelly DeLay
This supercell was photographed in Throckmorton, Texas on Wednesday. The state has been hit by a series of thunderstorms and tornadoes over the past week.

Texas is reeling from a series of storms that have spawned tornadoes and flooding. People from around the country are pitching in to help residents clean up and brace for more rain.

One of those people isChristopher Davis, who lives in Meridian and works for the RedCross in Boise. He's one of three Idahoans sent by thelocal branch of the organization to help in east Texas. One volunteer came from Boise and another from East Idaho, at first offering help to victims of a tornado that cut through the town of Van, Texas on Sunday.

The town of 2,600 is 70 miles southeast of Dallas. Two people were killed and dozens injured after a twister with 140 mph winds plowed across ten miles of the landscape.

“It’s destroyed 120 homes. It’s been a pretty significant event for this little community,” Davis says.

The Red Cross has a shelter in Van for those who have lost their homes. Davis says he talked to a man who was in his house during the tornado when a two-by-four came off his home and hit him in the head.

“His face is literally black on the whole left side . . . his eye is even bruised,” Van says. “He’s 73-years-old and has an amazingly positive disposition and outlook. He knows the Red Cross is here to help. He’s tickled that he’s got a place to stay and he’s ready for all these weather systems to move out so they can start recovering and rebuilding.”

Davis says Friday the Red Cross set up a multi-agency resource center in Van, to connect the community with resources and tools they need to recover from the disaster. But he says there’s still more to do.

Davis says much of the ground where he's working in Waco is saturated.

“There’s nowhere within the earth for the water to go to. So at this point in time, any additional rain is going to sit on top of the ground. What we’re facing is some real concerns for some very heavy and serious flooding in the area.”

Davis says more storms and more rain is forecast for this weekend.

“There’s a lot of people that are bracing, they’re hunkering down, they’re getting ready. We were out talking to some folks that live off of a lake here in the Waco area that are telling us ‘we’re not ready to start cleaning up because we know it’s not over.’”

Davis says the Red Cross is helping families prepare for flooding by getting shelters ready. He’s also staging things like clean-up materials, so they can respond once the flooding is over.

“We’ve got things being staged all over central and northern Texas to be able to respond to floods wherever they may pop up,” Davis says.

Davis was planning to head home to Meridian this weekend, but decided to stay in Texas after hearing the latest weather forecast. He says he’ll stay as long as folks there need help.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio

As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.

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