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Central Texas communities endure through intense midweek hailstorm

Mills County Courthouse
Posted at 11:09 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 01:26:58-04

GOLDTHWAITE, TX — A severe thunderstorm producing ping-pong to golf ball-size hail caused damage across Goldthwaite Wednesday evening.

25 News received photos and videos from viewers of the large hail falling in the area.

Local storm reports indicated similar sized hail fell in Bosque, Hill, Hamilton Counties.

Much of Central Texas was also under a Tornado Watch for Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning. Some portions were even under a Tornado Warning.

The National Weather Service Forth Worth Office confirmed a single storm produced one tornado in Hamilton County and another Bosque County. No damage was reported.

The main event came Wednesday afternoon as a severe thunderstorm moved into Mills County. However viewers sent in footage of small hail falling as late as 11 p.m. Wednesday evening.

By Thursday morning, sunny skies revealed the extent of the damage. The Mills County Courthouse suffered broken windows and stripped lights.

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Guy Burns points out some of the damage sustained from Wednesday's hailstorm on the north side facing portion of the Mills County Courthouse building. Burns said about 20 windows were broken.

“The whole north side of the building sustained a lot of damage," said Guy Burns, the courthouse maintenance manager. “We also had about 20 windows broken."

Burns said the historic building also suffered damage to the roof. An assessment of the overall damage is still being conducted.

Residents were seen coming in and out of the Head Insurance office across the street from the courthouse on Thursday morning.

“The phone's been ringing non-stop," said Chip Head, owner of Head Insurance.

While much of the state is certainly familiar with the negative impacts of severe weather following February's historic winter storm, Wednesday afternoon's hail provided a different scenario for the community.

“10 percent of our customers maybe filed a claim with the winter storm. Well now, the whole town of Goldthwaithe is calling in and filing a claim," said Head.

“We’ve all seen hail before, but it was just solid and steady," said Stewart Farrell, senior pastor of Fellowship Goldthwaite.

Farrell was among those in need of an insurance agent by Thursday morning. Church facilities suffered extensive water damage.

During Wednesday night's storm, Pastor Farrell said his congregation was holding their kids class while the hail was falling

"At about 5:30, I walked into one of the offices and I saw the water began to roll across the floor," he explained. "I then went outside, and you could see where the hail had piled up 12 to 18 inches along the door, creating an ice damn. It piled up like that, and then as it continued to rain, that water had no place to go but back into the building.”

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Chip Head stands in front of his vehicle outside his office in Goldthwaite. Head described how Wednesday's hailstorm differs from the winter storm that hit Central Texas in February. “10 percent of our customers maybe filed a claim with the winter storm," Head explained. "Now, the whole town of Goldthwaithe is calling in and filing a claim.”

Thursday morning, Fellowship Goldthwaite had visible water damage in several offices along the main hall, and fans running in each room to help quell the effects.

Meanwhile at the Mills County Sheriffs Department, Sheriff Clint Hammonds said they had suffered some hail damage to several patrol cars.

"We experienced some damage to some of the patrol cars things like that,” he said.

Despite the damage, Sheriff Hammond explained residents of Mills County are extremely close-knit in looking out for and helping each other recover from severe weather.

“This a pretty tight-knit community," he said. "People are born and live here their whole life. We look out for each other."

Mills County Sheriff
Mills County Sheriff Clint Hammonds explains the local community is very close-knit and looks out for each other in responding to the effects of severe weather.

That sentiment was put on display back at Fellowship Baptist. Rather than tend to their own property, churchgoers assisted Pastor Farrell in cleaning up what they could following the intense hail.

“People just poured in to help. That’s just what it's like in Goldthwaite and in Mills County," Pastor Farrell described.

While sitting in his office amid damaged walls, and in a community with several broken windows, it was clear Wednesday's severe weather had not broken the spirit of Mills County.

“We just want to help each other. That’s not being romantic, that’s just the way it is around here," said Pastor Farrell.