HOUSTON – Interstate 10 was shut down until about 4:15 a.m. Wednesday in Sealy after severe storms left a path of damage in their path as they tore through the area Tuesday evening.
Several flights were delayed at Bush Intercontinental Airport due to the weather. Multiple vehicles were overturned by high winds in the area.
"We're probably the first ones in this neighborhood that got a blue tarp on the roof," Daniel Kulow said.
Kulow's house was damaged by the storms, which included powerful winds and strong hail that caused destruction.
"You don't have no warning, you know," Kulow said. "I never would believe I'd witness one of these, but I guess there's time for everything."
The National Weather Service determined the wind speed was 80 to 100 mph which they said is equal to an EF1 tornado.
"(It's) a very same wind speed. In this case the winds were blowing out; they weren't necessarily spinning, but regardless it's somewhat irrelevant when you're in the path of that 100 mph wind, it's going to do the same amount of damage whether if it's spinning or not." National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Evans said. "A tornado is like a straw into a storm--it sucks air in and up. What we were dealing with, the wind damage, it's almost like the storm exhales and it all comes out at once. So instead of things coming in, things are kind of blowing out."
Evans called Tuesday's wind storm a rare micro burst that rarely reaches the magnitude that hit Sealy.
Trees and debris blanketed roadways, leaving highways 36, 3013 and 3538 closed Tuesday night.
Sealy Mayor Janice Whitehead said CenterPoint crews set up a command center with several assistance crews working to clear tree damage and power poles.
"Last night I had a wonderful opportunity to witness a very well-oiled machine. We had crews from Wallace, Brookshire, Fulshear, (and) I think Columbus. They were here from all over, and to watch these men in action organizing their plan of action, it was just phenomenal." Whitehead said. "I want to take the time to say thank you to our first responders."
Whitehead said a Red Cross shelter is open in the 1400 block of Highway 90 west for anyone in need.
Sealy Independent School District said all campuses and offices would be closed due to the damage in the area.
District Superintendent Sheryl Moore said two events were interrupted by the wind storm, and only one injury was reported.
Moore said students are done with classes for the summer, but teachers and faculty will attend an awards ceremony on Thursday.
Stephen Virnau's family parked its new van at a graduation event only to find hail-pierced windows and dented doors after the storm.
2,000 still without power
Fort Bend County officials said multiple power lines were down in the area.
CenterPoint Energy reported that at the height of the storm, 20,000 customers were without power around 8 p.m.
"This is extreme. This is really extreme. We had tornadic winds that came in," CenterPoint Energy employee Chris Oliver said.
On Wednesday about 2,000 were still without power as CenterPoint workers fixed main power lines along Highway 36 south of Interstate 10.
Whitehead said CenterPoint expects to restore full power by Friday.