One Year After Two Tornadoes Touched Down in Grayson County - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

One Year After Two Tornadoes Touched Down in Grayson County

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX-- We're looking back one year ago to day to the December tornados that hit Grayson County, one in Southmayd, the other in the heart of Denison. Deeda Payton went back to ground zero today and actually caught up with some of the same folks she interviewed right after the storm. She also spoke to the county and city leaders about what they are doing differently this year to keep folks safe.


Grayson County says it has learned a lot in the last year about preparing and responding to emergencies. Last December, the two tornadoes, rated at an EF-1, seemed to catch everyone off guard and the county doesn't want that to happen ever again.

"It's been rough. All I can do is pray and ask god to help me keep going." The was from an interview I did with Bertha Coffin last year after her home on Crestview Drive in Denison was ripped apart along with her neighbor's homes.

Today they are empty lots on either side of her home. gaping wounds still visible from the tornado one year later.

But, the Coffin's home was rebuilt. "I couldn't sleep last night thinking of today and all the things we still can't find." From family photos to prized possessions, memories lost forever.

But, from that Grayson County learned a lot about responding to emergencies. "From something that might be viewed as a catastrophic event for the county. We were able to revamp some of our operations.

The county has used grant money to build an Emergency Operations Center. It's a command post to organize communication throughout the county and it's 16 cities. Sarah Somers took me on a tour. "Generally, the EOC, somebody like me would sit in this position. We have several people trained to act here when I am not on duty."

Denison Mayor Robert Brady says they have implemented a new early warning system, Code Red, and repaired storm sirens. "Now have two systems. We're twice as good as were the days of the tornado."

But residents hit hard by last year's tornadoes are still on edge, nervous at every rumble of thunder and every crack of lightning. "I hope and pray that they do a better job this time warning everybody that there is a tornado coming.

Grayson County is hoping that with the Homeland Security grant money they were awarded will soon be able to help the individual cities improve their emergency preparedness. But, to protect yourself now, it is recommended that you use multiple alert and warning systems, like a weather radio, Grayson County's Code Red and our Weathercall here at KTEN.

Deeda Payton, KTEN News.