The Jarrell Tornado: 20 years later, remembering the 27 lives lost

It was a somber anniversary for the City of Jarrell in Williamson County. 

20 years ago, an F5 tornado hit the city, killing 27 people.
               
Sheryl Moehring Steger lost four family members May 27th, 1997 “Keith Moehring my brother, his wife Cindy, Moehring, my nephews Erick and Ryan. They were all in the bathroom of their house, where they were supposed to be. It was just too big and bad of a tornado to survive it. It's a pretty sobering thing to see four caskets all lined up.” The Igo family lost five.

“We lost almost half our family in one afternoon,” said Glenda Igo Maikell.   
               
Peaking at 3/4 of a mile wide, with winds of more than 300-miles per hour, the powerful twister moved across the Double Creek Estates. “There's not really a recovery, you just learn to live with it. It's always there on the edge of your mind and of course this time of year every time you start seeing the video of the tornado that was taken from the highway. My first thought is always they were there; people were dying when they took that video. I know that's what people don't think about,” Maikell said.

The tornado hit at 3:48 in the afternoon: the time left on a clock recovered in the debris.

27 people were killed.

“It was awful, it was sheer devastation out there,” Steger said. 

The entire neighborhood was destroyed.

The only thing remaining of the 38 homes in the Double Creek area after the destructive tornado was the cement slabs they were built on. It's a day many said they want to forget, but the lives lost they always want to remember.

“A lot of people don't really want to keep it fresh, and I understand that, your community wants to move on, you don't want to be identified by a tragedy. At the same time for us the families that remain it's very important to keep their memory alive,” Steger said.
               
Dozens gathered Saturday afternoon for a 20th anniversary remembrance ceremony to help those left behind know their loved ones memory will live on forever.  “We just want to remember and have everyone remember our loved ones. They're gone but they not forgotten,” Steger said.

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