Jarrell community remembers those lost 20 years after deadly tornado

The 1997 tornado killed 27 people.

JARRELL, Texas (KXAN) – Saturday marks 20 years since the F5 tornado ripped through the Williamson County town of Jarrell. It took 27 lives, and destroyed many homes and businesses in the town.

As the saying goes, time heals all wounds. However, for those connected to the Jarrell Tornado, time has only dulled the pain.

“Twenty years is such a significant amount of time to go by. It’s still like it just happened yesterday. There’s not a day that goes by that you don’t miss them and want to be with them,” said Kelly Carlson who lost five family members during the storm.

On that day in May, Carlson says her sister Cynthia Moehring was at work when the F5 tornado spinning more than 260 miles per hour made its way straight for her home. “She had a cleaning business that she started here in town and she was there cleaning and rushed home to be with her family,” said Carlson.

Cynthia Moehring, her husband Keith and their two children Ryan and Erik all died that day.

In 1997, Brianna Delarosa was just five years old, even she still carries the memories from that day.

“My mom was in there just crying. I just remember going in there and asking what’s wrong and she said Cindy’s gone, her family is gone,” said Delarosa.

The family now visits graveside, the only place they say they can truly all be together.

To remember those killed, dozens of people in the city came together in downtown Jarrell. Those that spoke said they did not want to remember the tragedy, but the lives lost. They told stories of where they were, and what happened after.

“I call that another planet kind of experience. The sounds of the gas tanks that were leaking gas, but the sound that stays with me the most is Gary Smith going house to house with his flashlight asking ‘are you alright in there? Are you alright in there?’” said one of the survivors at the memorial.

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