Winds destroyed an estimated 25 units at Sunshine Boat Storage in Lewisville on Sunday morning. (Staff photo by Adam Schrader)
It’s Sunday afternoon and Sunshine Boat Storage in Lewisville feels like a war zone. The second floor windows on the business’ office are blown out. A 2×6 piece of wood pierces the ceiling as seen from the inside. Outside, another is firmly lodged into the wall. Debris litters the area, some pieces of sheet metal reaching more than 600 feet away from the facility.
Some in southern Denton County suspected a tornado hit around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, but none had been confirmed. Dallas County, however, endured two tornadoes that touched down around 2:34 a.m.
At Sunshine, an estimated 25 storage sheds were damaged by a storm that tore through Lewisville at around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, said Roy Schindler, the property manager.
Some renters struggle with the loss of photographs, while others handle the stress by joking around.
“Give me that hard hat!” Kolten Loomis of Lewisville said to his two friends who load toolboxes into a white pickup. “Just kidding, I don’t need it.”
Carrollton resident Paul Williams also rents a unit in the facility. Unlike many renters, he’s not there removing his belongings. Instead, his friends Victor Wickman and Richard Lewis pack his possessions.
Williams left for the hospital earlier in the day. He needs stitches.
“The overhead door took out a good chunk of his hand when he tried to move it out of the way,” Wickman said. “He avoided the tornado just to get hurt by the debris anyway.”
Other renters protect themselves from the dangers of the wreckage. Lee Langley of Prosper and John Raines of Dallas wear work gloves as they sift through piles of sheet metal where Raines’ unit was.
“We’re just getting Christmas junk and any loose boating equipment out so we can get the boat somewhere else,” Raines said.
James Pope of Lewisville lives in the townhomes directly behind Sunshine. His home avoided the tornado and no shingles were pulled off the roof.
“We were looking out the window and heard the debris hit but couldn’t see through the rain,” he said “I thought it was hail at first, but it only hit like once or twice. We saw the garbage cans flying. Then we saw the damage.”
Pope said his next-door neighbor saw the tornado swirling and debris flying in the air.
Sunshine sits less than a quarter of a mile from the Lewisville Lake dam.
Water trickles over the corners. Two turtles sit in the middle of the spillway and stare at the water, as if taunting the lake to rise a half inch and pour over to the other side.
“We already closed the gates at Ray Roberts and Grapevine,” Dylan Mayfield with Army Corps of Engineers said. “It could go over the dam at any minute now. Slowly at first, then it will start pouring over.”
Joe Botto, who owns a lakefront home, said Mayfield told him the corps is trying to avoid water spilling over the dam at Lake Ray Roberts because there are houses nearby that would be at risk.
Rob McDonald, a 20-year Highland Village resident, also lives on Lake Lewisville. While he’s not worried about water damage to his home, he is worried about erosion.
McDonald wades through the water to his dock, next to Lakeside Community Park in Highland Village. He hopes he can level out the walkway, which was damaged by the storms.
Some locals, like Claudia and Manfred Zehentmayr, even biked or walked to the dam, more for curiosity than out of worry, they said.
It’s starting to rain again. Everyone at the dam returns to their cars, as the men and women at Sunshine Boat Storage continue to try saving their property.
According to the National Weather Service, KXAS-TV (NBC5), Tuesday afternoon could bring severe storms in North Texas. There is a slight chance of hail, tornadoes, strong winds and heavy rainfall. Scattered storms are possible throughout the week.
Lewisville/Flower Mound editor Adam Schrader can be reached at 214-773-8188.