The devastating tornado of October 20 was obviously the biggest story in Dallas this week, and residents are still plowing through the aftermath. Other highlights include an upcoming garden tour and a meeting to discuss the latest local freeway project.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
The final tornado tally from the National Weather Service: 10 separate tornadoes that touched down across North Dallas, from North Dallas, Midlothian, Ferris, Wills Point, Garland, Rockwall, and Allen.
Residents, city employees, and first responders spent the week digging through the damage. Teachers from damaged elementary schools reconvened their classes in makeshift headquarters at an athletic stadium.
According to a city spokesperson, there are currently 70 traffic signals without communications, of which 40 to 50 have no power; and 26 traffic signals on flash. As power is restored, more signals are expected to be on flash. Crews are conducting assessments in the field to determine locations where temporary signals can be placed for traffic control.
Oncor worked 24-7, including overnight shifts through inclement weather, to reconnect the nearly 100,000 people who lost power due to damage and downed wires. By Thursday October 25, all known storm-related outages for homes/businesses that were capable of accepting power were restored, except a handful of customers in the tornado impact zone. Many homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged so severely, they will not be able to accept power until repairs are made.
One of the more amazing situations was at the Home Depot at Forest and US-75, where manager Jordan Jasper, having observed the oncoming storm, closed the store early, getting customers and his employees out of harm's way. The store sustained serious damage, including a collapsed roof. After the storm, those Home Depot employees went to neighborhoods in North Dallas to help clear downed trees from the roads.
To support the community's needs in this disaster, Communities Foundation of Texas has established the Dallas Tornado Recovery & Relief Fund, with a list of needs such as clothes and gift cards. Donors can make donations online.
TxDOT will host a public meeting on October 29 to discuss proposed improvements to I-30, between I-35E and the I-45/I-345 interchange. Representatives from TxDOT, project consultants, and the City of Dallas will be available to answer questions about the 1.5-mile project.
Those improvements include:
- Widening I-30 from the I-35E interchange to the I-45/I-345 interchange from its existing status - three mainlanes and one to three collector/distributor lanes in each direction - to six mainlanes in each direction.
- The proposed mainlanes would consist of 10-foot-wide inside and outside shoulders; six 12-foot-wide travel lanes in each direction; and ramping improvements
- The addition of discontinuous frontage roads along the project limits
- The addition of bicycle and pedestrian accommodations
The proposed improvements are going to require additional right-of-way (ROW). They'll have maps showing the proposed project's location and conceptual design will for viewing during the meeting, which is on Tuesday, October 29 from 5:30-8 pm at the Omni Dallas Hotel ballroom, at 555 S. Lamar St.
Dallas Water Utilities and Dallas Environmental Quality & Sustainability are hosting the 25th anniversary of the Waterwise Landscape & Community Garden Tour on October 26 from 9 am-3 pm. It's a free self-guided tour consisting of:
- 10 home gardens
- 5 community gardens
- educational mini-talks
- WRR radio on site
- gardening giveaways at select sites
The community garden stops include Big Tex Urban Farm, Bonton Farms, Lake Highland Community Garden, Owenwood Farm & Neighborhood Space, and West Dallas Multipurpose Center. To see all of the locations and map out your route, go to Landscape Tour.
The event's headquarters are at White Rock Pump Station, where the the first 500 visitors will get a free hose-end spray nozzle.
Downtown Dallas closures
Several streets on the south side of downtown Dallas will be shut down over the weekend for a Día de los Muertos celebration taking place at Dallas City Hall on Sunday October 26 from 4-11 pm, including a parade from 5-7 pm. Street closures will begin on Saturday October 25 at 4 pm, and will include Young Street, Akard, Marilla, Browder, South Ervay, South St. Paul, Field, Griffin, Commerce, Jackson, and Wood.