ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — It’s the first of many workdays for Sam Baker as he rebuilds his tornado-ravaged home in the Forest Bluff neighborhood.
“You can see this wall behind you is folding in,” he said, pointing at the second floor.
A blue tint colored the second floor from the tarp replacing the torn roof, and pink insulation carpeted the stairs.
“We got hit, you know, just directly — just went right into us here,” he says.
Baker was renting out the home to his friend, who was living there with his wife, daughter, mother and dog. They crammed into a small closet under the stairs just in time.
“They’re on the phone with me, just saying, ‘The house is shaking apart,’ like, they got into it the time when the windows started breaking,” Baker recalls.
He arrived in the neighborhood to help just minutes after the tornado hit.
“There was a lot of people outside crying,” Baker said. “I saved what I could before the rain came.”
There are similar scenes in other neighborhoods. In South Creek, for example, people helped each other clear trees, remove limbs, and push debris out of the roadway.
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell signed a disaster declaration Monday night around 10 p.m., saying there are millions of dollars in damage throughout the county
“We believe there is at least $2 million in the La Frontera area where the tornado originally came down,” Gravell said.
Will Medina said he was watching KXAN Chief Meteorologist David Yeomans on Monday night.
“All of a sudden, David said, ‘Oh my God! Round Rock is having a tornado! And as I was going to go tell my wife, she was cooking, the tornado came down and whoosh, whoosh, I mean, it was crazy,” Medina said.
He came outside to find a trampoline in his backyard.
“I don’t know who it belongs to,” he said.
He also has a damaged roof but considers his family blessed.
“That’s what really, really counts, that we’re alive,” Medina said.
He said he’s grateful for his neighbors, who have been passing out free food and water for others, as crews worked to restore power to thousands.
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Round Rock issued a statement Tuesday, saying it was working to evaluate and repair the damage, but hope to reopen to guests at 11 a.m. Friday.
“We are extremely grateful to the support that our Round Rock family has shown us and are proud to be a part of this amazing community,” the statement read.
A sign outside its facility reads, “Round Rock strong,” just one kind of support that’s still standing in the wake of the tornado’s path.