Tornado levels parts of Onalaska

Debris can be seen on both sides of Lake Livingston in Onalaska where a tornado blew through Wednesday evening. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and three people were killed.

The community of Onalaska in Polk County, Texas, is still digging out following a devastating tornado that ripped through the Yaupon Cove and Paradise Cove subdivisions Wednesday evening. The monster tornado destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses, and claimed three lives, including a young couple – Brooke Ivey, 27, and Taylor Holbert, 29.

The couple were both employed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Their deaths were acknowledged by TDCJ in the following statement:

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is saddened to announce the deaths of two employees as a result of the Polk County tornado. Twenty-nine-year-old Taylor Holbert was an employee of the Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Logistics Division. He worked over three years as an Industrial Specialist. 27-year-old Brooke Ivey was an employee of the Business and Finance Division. She had worked for TDCJ for over 6 years most recently as a Contracts Specialist in Contracts and Procurement. Both were killed when the tornado struck near Onalaska yesterday evening causing extensive damage and leaving dozens of others injured and homeless. Two other extended family members were seriously injured and are hospitalized. Holbert’s mother is also a TDCJ employee.
‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this tragic act of nature,’ said Bryan Collier the Executive Director of TDCJ. ‘To lose two valued employees so young is especially difficult. TDCJ is a family. We will all stand with the Holbert and Ivey families in this trying time.'”

Brooke Ivey and Taylor Holbert (photo courtesy of TDCJ)

Click through the photos below to see more of the devastation:

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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