LAGUNA HEIGHTS, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Laguna Heights community is in pain and disbelief over the tornado that struck their town early Saturday morning.
“With the last time, we got a tornado warning, we were like, it’s not gonna hit,” said Isabel Ochoa, Laguna Heights resident. “Nothing happened. So we thought this time, oh nothing’s gonna happen. So we just prepared for rain, just flooding.”
Residents said they have prepared for hurricanes, but tornadoes are so rare in this area, they weren’t convinced one would touch down in their neighborhood.
“Because I didn’t believe it. I honestly didn’t believe it. I said no, there’s no way,” said Brenda Jimenez, a former resident.
A representative from the National Weather Service said there was no time between the alerts being sent out and when the tornado struck.
“The current indication based on the warning time that we have is zero. So, it went out at the same time the tornado was touching down,” said Barry Wilson of the National Weather Service.
Several homes were destroyed, and some even flattened to the ground. As for the people who were hurt, authorities said their injuries are non-life-threatening.
In this close-knit community, everyone knows everyone and this tragedy hits close to home.
“I mean it gets you emotional because we know these people, we know everybody. My husband, he grew up here,” said Ochoa.
Many of the homes in the area that weren’t destroyed suffered serious damage and many animals have been displaced by the tornado.
Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. said the county will work with local shelters and organizations to ensure pets also have somewhere to stay.
The clean-up effort is already underway, and residents hope it won’t be too long before they can pick up the pieces and return home.
The Salvation Army and American Red Cross are providing meals for those affected by this tornado.
The organizations are located off Van Buren and Highway 100.