The Daily Update: Thursday, April 28

April 28, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Obama released his birth certificate after rising criticism from “birthers.” Coverage for the Royal Wedding starts at 3 a.m. CDT tomorrow, and Ke$ha performs at Moody Coliseum tonight. Find out all this and more on today’s Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Tuesday, April 26

April 26, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Seven people are dead and at least 67,000 are without power after violent storms hit Arkansas this morning. Nissan is recalling nearly 196,000 sport utility vehicles in the U.S. And the NFL lockout has been lifted. Find out all this and more on your Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Tuesday, April 19

April 19, 2011 by · Comments Off 

A 23-year-old exchange student is dead after being attacked in her dorm room. Her boyfriend witnessed it all via webcam. Wildfires continue to spread across Texas, and religious leaders are furious over Lady Gaga’s new single. All this and more on your Daily Update.

PHOTO STORY: Tornado Touchdown In Rice, TX

October 27, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Stuart Palley
spalley@smu.edu

On October 24th, 2010, a tornado struck Rice, TX at around 5:30 PM. A Sunday evening, many residents were in their homes when the tornado touched down. Rice High School and multiple homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. Rice residents Raymond and Sonia Butler one of those who lost their home.

The Butlers were in their home at the time of the tornado, and miraculously survived. Now, their home is totally destroyed with debris strewn hundreds of yards across their property. Their 6,000 pound Chevy Suburban was thrown around like a toothpick and is now a twisted wreck. Their horse trailer was ripped in half, carried 100 yards, and was thrown up against a tree. The brick masonry crumbled, piled up like Lego bricks.

Mr. Butler showed media a piece of wood from his house framing that was stuck upright in the ground. Other remnants of deadly projectiles were pieces of sheet metal wrapped around felled trees like blankets.

Within 24 hours, news media was on scene of the Butler home. Despite the loss of his home and possessions, Raymond Butler coolly summed his outlook on the matter, “you can replace objects, but you can’t replace people.”

While acknowledging that he had lost his home and the difficulties ahead, Butler’s approach was optimistic. A reporter for WFAA Dallas remarked that “usually you have bodies in this situation.” The mayor of Rice, Jerry Herring, agreed. “I don’t want to say this is good, because its not, but nobody is dead, and that’s a miracle.”

Rice High School was also heavily damaged, which opened new in summer of 2010 according to Rice High School faculty. At the high school, the football and baseball field are also ruined. The football scoreboard was ripped from its foundation, and both goalposts are bent. Steel I-beams, some of the strongest materials used in construction, were bent like paper clips. Debris is strewn across the baseball field and caught up against the field fencing.

The main structure’s cinderblock exterior leans precariously, and yellow police tape blocks off close access to the walls in case they collapse. Winds are still gusting up to 30 miles per hour, plenty of wind to throw metal debris off of roofs and onto media and officials below.

Currently, Rice ISD administrators are scrambling to find a location to continue classes. Nearby churches have offered Sunday School classrooms and there is space at the school district in nearby Corsicana.

Rice is about an hour south of downtown Dallas on Interstate 45. The photographer would like to extend his gratitude to the Butler family and the town of Rice for their open arms in allowing access to their homes and schools in wake of the destruction.

The Daily Update: Monday, Oct. 25

October 25, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

The Daily Update: Monday, Oct. 25 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Find out about tornados in North East Texas this past weekend, a shooting that killed 14 people in Mexico, volcano in Indonesia that could erupt

Tornado Touchdown in Dallas

September 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Tornado Touches Down in Dallas from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Halle Organ reports on the damage caused by the tornado that touched down on Mockingbird Lane Wednesday night. The tornado skipped through Mockingbird Lane causing minimal damage. Organ spoke with Dallas Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Jason Evans, about the damage and the fire department’s response.

A look inside Pinnacle Coatings Group, located at 616 West Mockingbird, after its walls crashed down. (PHOTO BY HALLE ORGAN / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

SMU student Chris Dell also got video footage of the funnel cloud over the city, check it out here.