Cleanup underway in Jayton, Girard, following 100 mph straight line winds, hail

Published: Jun. 22, 2023 at 11:35 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Families in Kent County are boarding up windows and clearing debris, after Wednesday night’s storm moved South from Matador.

The National Weather Service in Lubbock reports Jayton was hit with wind gusts up to 109 miles per hour and softball-sized hail.

Nathan Branum, Principal at Jayton-Girard ISD, says he was watching the storm, but didn’t know it was headed their way.

“I legitimately got home from Snyder about 8:45 and turned on John Robison and saw that it had kind of changed course. It was headed right for us. So, we opened up our storm shelter at about nine, 9:05 that evening,” Branum said.

About 150 people showed up to wait out the storm in the shelter at the school, built only two years ago. Branum says they had no power or cell service, as lightning, heavy winds, and hail made their way through town. The power was restored just before 3 p.m. Thursday.

“Luckily, just high winds and hail, but it was still plenty, plenty of a fearful situation for a lot of people. But luckily, we got through it pretty much unhurt, just some damage,” Branum said.

Branum says there were no deaths or injuries reported. The National Weather Service in Lubbock found evidence of straight-line winds in Jayton and Girard, just to its north. Branum says two homes in the area, including one of his employees’, lost their roofs.

“It’s a devastating thing for their family, but we’ll all be there to pick ‘em up,” he said.

Branum says even before boarding up their own windows at their home, several people went to the school to help clean up Thursday morning.

“We take pride in this school as far as being a part of it, but the community may take even more pride in this school because it’s a kind of a beacon of light and does a lot of incredible things,” Branum said.

Branum says every year, the district takes a day off of school to serve its community.

“It was really neat today to see how the natural progression of doing that for several years now, it’s just automatic. It’s incredible to see something like that, it’s intentional, it serves its purpose, but you may not see the big picture until something like this actually happens,” Branum said.

The power is restored, and Branum says the town will get there, too.