Valdosta Daily Times

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May 18, 2013

Tornado-ravaged Texas town to start recovery

GRANBURY, Texas — Residents whose homes were torn apart or blown away by a North Texas deadly tornado can soon return to retrieve what belongings may be left and start cleaning up, authorities said Friday.

In Granbury, the area hardest hit by Wednesday night’s exceptionally strong tornado, workers are trying to restore water service, raise electrical lines and clear debris piles filled with insulation, roof tiles, pieces of carpet, a shoe, a teddy bear, a woman’s purse.

Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said authorities will only allow residents of the Rancho Brazos Estates neighborhood back in to survey things starting Saturday morning.

But Jerry Shuttlesworth won’t be one of them. He doesn’t know where his mobile home ended up, but he finally has his only treasured possession: his bull-terrier mix, Junior, who had been missing since the tornado that left six people dead swept through the city 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Shuttlesworth, 53, broke three bones in one of his feet and suffered a 2-inch gash in his forehead.

Friends helped spread the word about his dog through social media. On Friday, someone found Junior and took him to a shelter, where a worker called Shuttlesworth.

“You could call it a miracle,” he said. “He’s scratched up and a little traumatized, but he’s eating. He’s my baby. I don’t care about anything else.”

Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Friday toured Granbury, which bore the brunt of the damage during Wednesday’s outbreak of 16 tornadoes in North Texas.

Perry said the devastation is almost incomprehensible. Abbott urged residents to be cautious of those who might try to scam them as they rebuild.

The National Weather Service said Friday that the Granbury tornado was an EF-4, based on the Fujita tornado damage scale. Winds in an EF-4 tornado are between 166 and 200 mph. An EF-5 is the most severe.

Earlier Friday, the Hood County Sheriff’s Office said the death toll is unlikely to change, as those who were reported missing were with relatives or friends and are safe.

Workers on Friday cleared debris in nearby Cleburne, where a tornado cut a mile-wide path through part of the city Wednesday and damaged about 600 homes. The weather service said it was an EF-3, which has winds between 136 and 165 mph. No deaths or severe injuries were reported.

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