STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
BERTRAM — A brief but severe thunderstorm marked by high winds and hail swept into Burnet County on May 15, causing power outages and property damage. Crews were called out to clear uprooted trees and electrical lines blocking roads.
According to Pedernales Electric Cooperative, as many as 1,400 residents, primarily in northeastern Burnet County, reported temporary outages after 6 p.m. as the storm cell marched across the area.
Emergency calls rolled into Burnet County dispatchers with reports of pea-size hail, straight-line winds, and destruction such as damage to roofs, metal barns, and other structures.
“Our biggest thing was maintaining safety around downed power lines,” Burnet County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Russell Kneese said.
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Officials received reports of storm-related issues primarily east of Burnet, in and around CR 260 northeast of Bertram, and along FM 1174 to just off RR 1431 in the vicinity of Hidden Falls Adventure Park.
“That was the path where we were receiving the most calls,” Kneese said.
Burnet County Pct. 2 Commissioner Billy Wall was one of the first officials on scene and received assistance from crews from all county precincts due to the volume of calls.
“Everyone had just a tremendous amount of damage in such a small area,” he said. “The rain was going sideways and then moving around in different directions.
“The lightning storm was something, too,” he added.
The storm dwindled and cleared the area by about 8 p.m.
There were no reports of injuries or evacuations; however, at one point, Burnet police temporarily re-routed traffic off Hill Street and Texas 29 due to a power outage of a traffic light in an intersection.
“Our crews stand ready at a moment’s notice to respond to something of this nature,” Kneese said. “It bodes well for all the agencies within the county and the ability to work together to respond to something of this nature at a moment’s notice.”