ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — On Tuesday morning, Michael Talamantez continued cleaning up and clearing out what was left of his Round Rock home.
The tornado Monday evening completely destroyed the house he’s lived in for decades.
“It’s devastation — 30 years of stuff. My mom who’s passed away when I was a teenager, we have all our stuff in there, and to see the photos and all the stuff is sentimental, and it’s difficult,” he said.
He described the terrifying moments leading up to the storm’s hit with his girlfriend and their two teenagers hunkering down in the bathroom.
“They were in the bathtub. I was on the bathroom floor trying to keep the bathroom door closed. And it was pushing open. It was like five strong men trying to push the door open. I had no more strength. And I just thought that was going to be the end for me,” Talamantez explained.
“I went into Mr. Positive mode and tried to just be stable and positive for my loved ones, even though inside I felt otherwise. So yeah, it’s a scary, surreal sort of experience. And I thought I’d be praying a lot, but I didn’t have time to even do that. I just had to — I tried to make sure everybody was protected in my bathtub,” he continued.
While he continues to pick up the pieces, he’s grateful his family is alive.
“Then I think my family’s OK. My loved ones are OK. And that’s the bottom line. And that’s really all I care about,” Talamantez continued.
Just down the block, Talamantez’ neighbor, Jason Pineda, only had minor roof damage in comparison.
“It was a little bit of luck, and then God also looking out after us, because literally three houses down like, you know, roofs and whole houses were collapsed not even 40 yards from where we’re at,” Pineda said.
He said it looked like the tornado was headed straight for their home, before it pivoted at the last second.
“My kids freaked out, we didn’t believe them. We looked at the back, and we could see it coming from Dell across to the neighborhood, and so we just got inside the restrooms and just hunkered down,” Pineda explained.
He and his family are staying at a nearby hotel while his roof and property are cleaned up.
“Our trampoline got stuck here in the back of our tree. And then all the trees broken, snapped in half,” Pineda said.
Tuesday afternoon, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said an estimated 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the county.
When asked which town was hit the hardest, Gravell said, “That easily is Round Rock.”