BERTRAM, Texas (KXAN) — A small business owner opened up shop on Saturday a year after tornado-like weather ripped through her small Central Texas town.
The rebuild process hasn’t been easy for Amanda Powell, but in Bertram, where everyone knows everyone, the community rallied together to make it happen.
“A wall on our building was gone and the whole kitchen collapsed,” said Powell. “We were in shock. This is Texas, not Oklahoma.”
Powell’s small business, the Bertram Blend and Boutique, welcomed a community of people back on Saturday. It took her months to find affordable material, contractors and a new place to build.
“Everything is so high right now and everybody is so busy. We had a hard time trying to find the material, but you just have to figure it out,” said Powell.
In its initial investigation, the National Weather Service says straight-line winds caused that significant storm damage in March of 2021.
At least one century-old building in Bertram collapsed in the heavy winds possibly caused by a microburst.
Flash forward a year later and look southeast of Powell’s small town, there’s a community of people going through the same thing.
Approximately 350 to 400 homes were damaged by Monday night’s tornado in Round Rock, according to the city of Round Rock.
“When we walked outside the house, you saw the impact and that’s what affected my children. You look down the street, and you can’t even cross the street,” said Round Rock resident Joseph Greensage.
Greensage says his Round Rock home has been flagged as unlivable for the time being.
“There’s a lot of internal structural issues in my house and that takes a lot of time, if it’s not condemned,” said Greensage.
Tyler Esquivel with Paul Davis Restoration said roofs are usually the quickest fix.
“Roof is pretty quick. They’ll come out here and within the week, and they’re gonna be done with that,” Esquivel said.
Construction supply shortages have been causing delays and headaches across the country for builders for months.
“Lumber, of course, is going to be your number one due to framing and all the board-ups. However, there’s other shortages like aluminum, like these pieces of siding, flashing and stuff like that,” he explained.
But Esquivel doesn’t expect shortages to get in the way of patching up roofs promptly.
“There’s a lot of homes, but there’s a lot of places that also sell the material,” Esquivel said. “Contractors can pull that from other parts of the state.”
Internal and structural damage could take longer than usual, though.
“Water mitigation, restoration and reconstruction — that’s going to take a little bit longer. That’s where your delays will come in for some of the lumber shortages and the materials,” Esquivel explained.
He said he thinks the bigger issue with material shortages, paired with inflation, will be insurance cost.
“I’ve actually seen that be a problem. In the case of someone’s coverage, where two years ago this would be fully covered. Now it’s going over their coverage just due to material,” Esquivel explained.