When it comes to storms, it seems to be the worst place to live or work in Texas is Houston. This is a city that's forever crawling out from the devastation left behind by hurricanes like Harvey in 2017 and Ike in 2008 as well as tropical storms like Allison on 2001 and Claudette in 1979.
Fortunately a storm that hit the oil metropolis earlier in April wasn't as harrowing and fortunately no people were hurt by the weather disturbance. That said, an airplane hanger collapsed during its exposure to the punishing winds. The storm also destroyed eight planes, include four that were in the hangar at Hobby Airport at the time.
The building damaged by the storm, which took place around midnight, was a privately-owned hangar that was part of the airport's Jet Linx terminal. The damage was horrific, as one shot showed what used to be part of the hangar's roof draped over the damaged fuselage of a twin-engine jet. Debris was scattered in all directions, including two runways, causing a temporary shutdown of one of them. No official cost of the damage was reported at this time, although a Hobby Airport spokesperson indication it would be in the millions of dollars.
“There's only so much you can prepare for,” said spokesperson Bill Begley. “We lease this area out to companies and they build the facilities so we're trying to support them and trying to recover what's happening here. Mother Nature can be pretty strong.”
The damage was not a result of a tropical storm, but what is called a microburst, according to the National Weather Service. The phenomenon is caused a suspension of water droplets and hailstones in an updraft of a developing thundercloud. If a sudden cooling takes place, the updraft weakens causing the core of the water and hail to drop. Once it hits the ground, the core spreads outward carried by winds caused by the collision of hot and cool temperatures.
As was the case in the Houston mishap, the microburst was highly localized, spreading over an area less than three miles in diameter, but the winds were likely blowing at speed of up to 100 mph, with roughly the same energy unleashed by a tornado.
The airport reported no flight delays while cleanup crews worked to clear the mess. The one runway that had to be closed was reopened within a day of the incident.