Significant storm damage not caused by tornado in Bertram, NWS says

Hill Country

BERTRAM, Texas (KXAN) — In its initial investigation, the National Weather Service says straight-line winds caused significant storm damage in Bertram in Burnet County during Monday night’s severe thunderstorms.

At least one century-old building in Bertram collapsed in heavy winds possibly caused by a microburst just before 10 p.m. There was a possibility a tornado caused the damage, but NWS officials don’t believe that is the case. A full assessment should come later Tuesday.

The damage is spread all over town, and one of the most damaged buildings housed a local business, the Bertram Blend and Boutique.

“Oh my god, what are we gonna do? It’s tough,” owner Amanda Powell said. “COVID was tough, I mean, this is definitely going to be another hurdle to cross. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it. I built the business up from nothing.”

Bertram Volunteer Fire Chief Bobby Huffstuttler posted a Facebook Live showing the damage. In the video, he says he believes a possible small tornado hit the town. He walked around showing and detailing all the damage and asking everyone to stay home.

“The A.B. McGill building is heavily damaged. The Boutique, a lot of damage to the Boutique. See all these huge rocks, came off the A.B. McGill building,” Huffstuttler said in the video.

Huffstuttler added traffic is being diverted, and Pedernales Electric Cooperative crews are out working trying to restore power. In the video, you could see the storms also toppled a street light, which was laying in the road.

A.B. McGill & Co. General Store, which was built in 1905, was reduced to rubble.

  • Storm damage in Bertram on March 22, 2021 (KXAN/Andrew Choat)
  • Storm damage along SH 29 in Bertram on March 22, 2021 (KXAN/Andrew Choat)
  • Storm damage in Bertram on March 22, 2021 (KXAN/Avery Travis)
  • Damage along SH 29 in Bertram, Texas (KXAN Photo/Andrew Choat)
  • Storm damage in Bertram on March 22, 2021
  • Storm damage in Bertram on March 22, 2021
  • Bertram storm damage

KXAN’s Avery Travis went out to Bertram shortly after storms passed through the area and spoke with business owners and emergency officials.

KXAN meteorologists identify possible Bertram tornado during coverage

KXAN Chief Meteorologist David Yeomans and Meteorologist Nick Bannin identified what may have been a small tornado in Bertram just before 10 p.m.

Red colors indicate winds moving away from the radar. Green indicates winds moving toward the radar. Anytime you get bright green next to bright red, it indicates that the storm’s winds close to the ground are rotating.

The bright pink spots also indicate straight-line winds, which could be as powerful or as damaging as a small tornado even if a tornado does not actually form.

If the radar structure of the storm shows a curve or “hook,” it can also be a sign of a tornado.

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