OVERVIEW: The June 2023 Perryton tornado timeline, coverage (2024)

PERRYTON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – On the afternoon of June 15, 2023, an EF-3 tornado blew through the town of Perryton in Ochiltree County, tearing a path down and across Highway 377. In about 10 minutes, the storm killed three people and injured more than 100, and heavily damaged or destroyed dozens of mobile homes, houses, businesses, and agency facilities.

The storm came after weeks of severe weather and flooding had impacted the broader Texas Panhandle and High Plains region, with disaster declarations in place and recovery efforts ongoing for the Amarillo area. With aid resources already spreading to other communities in the region, Perryton was faced with the destruction of its food pantry and its fire and EMS station alongside heavy damage to infrastructure, homes, and businesses in the area.

Below is a timeline of the Perryton tornado and the immediate response to its impact on the community and around the High Plains.

June 2023

Thursday, June 15

Just after 5 p.m. on June 15, Perryton in Ochiltree County was hit directly by a multiple-vortex storm that sent an EF-3 tornado through the northern part of the city, causing an estimated 25-30 mobile homes to be destroyed alongside other homes and at least two blocks’ worth of businesses and buildings in the downtown area.

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Regional first responders initially reported that three people were dead, at least 75 people had reported injuries, and two people were missing. The city was left without power due to infrastructure damage and pre-emptive de-energizing of facilities for safety purposes, and first responder agencies from around the Texas Panhandle and High Plains region responded to the community, including from Amarillo, Borger, and Hutchinson and Lipscomb counties.

Friday, June 16

On Friday morning, Perryton area officials confirmed that three people had been killed in the storm and around 114 were injured. Officials identified the three people who were killed as 67-year-old Cindy Bransgrove, 66-year-old Rebecca Randall, and 11-year-old Matthew Ramirez.

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Ochiltree County Sheriff Terry Bouchard spoke on Friday morning about the community response.

KAMR Local 4 News traveled to Perryton to report live from the community on the extent of the damage, community reactions, and response.

By Friday, the Texas Division of Emergency Management had deployed state emergency response resources for the Perryton community. Further, the Texas Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster serving the Texas Panhandle set up an account at FirstBank Southwest for all financial donations to benefit those impacted by the Perryton Tornado.

Further, as it did with those displaced by the flooding in the Amarillo area, the Red Cross established a shelter for people displaced by the tornado, with its efforts centralized at Perryton High School.

Other storm recovery donation accounts and drop-off locations were also established around the community, including from Perryton Independent School District, the Global Empowerment Mission, the Panhandle Disaster Relief Fund, the American Red Cross, and others.

Saturday, June 17

On Saturday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference in Perryton at the Ochiltree County Law Enforcement Center to discuss the state’s response to the severe weather conditions that had recently impacted communities in the Texas Panhandle. Other officials including Texas State Senator Kevin Sparks and U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13) also issued comments in response to the tornado.

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Sunday, June 18 – Tuesday, June 20

Throughout the rest of the weekend, the City of Perryton and Ochiltree County officials released further information and updates on recovery resources and the status of community utilities. Further, among the other residents of the community who were displaced by the tornado, the Fire/EMS station officials of Perryton considered their options for repair and relocation for their services.

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Elsewhere in the city, organizations including Paws on the Ground kicked off their efforts to reunite pets lost in Perryton as a result of the storm with their families, and Perryton High School remained a central location of relief efforts and organization as the city began the process of sifting through the lasting damage from the storm.

Wednesday, June 21

By the Wednesday after the storm, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality updated area residents on its response to the Perryton tornado as well as the flooding in the Amarillo area, while the American Red Cross continued to shelter displaced residents and area non-profits arrived to offer services and food to the community.

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As local officials, community members, and various agencies continued to work to support recovery, locals were also left to mourn and remember the neighbors who were lost. Nearly a week after the devastating storm, funeral services for the three people killed – 67-year-old Cindy Bransgrove, 66-year-old Rebecca Randall, and 11-year-old Matthew Ramirez – began Wednesday amid the wreckage and recovery efforts.

Bransgrove had been working with the food bank in Perryton at the time of the tornado, and was killed when the building was destroyed. Randall was at her business on Ash Street for an evening sale event when the tornado destroyed that building as well, killing her in the process. Ramirez was killed when his family’s home was destroyed during the tornado, and amid recovery efforts the Ike Fund volunteered to pay for his funeral services.

Friday, June 23 – Friday, June 30

After the destruction of Jireh Outreach in Perryton, the local food bank that partnered with High Plains Food Bank and served more than 750 households each month, the HPFB began assessing the damage to the facility and sending food and other support to the community to assist with meeting the increased demand after the tornado.

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Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Transportation, local high school students as well as businesses and other agencies in the Perryton community joined to begin the process of clearing the debris from the storm. Further, local businesses, as well as other groups, agencies, and individuals, began efforts to raise money through special events, concerts, and other means to donate to disaster relief efforts in Perryton.

The federal government also approved replacement Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for residents in multiple Texas counties, including Ochiltree County, who were impacted by the severe weather of recent weeks. Texas Governor Greg Abbott also issued disaster declarations for areas in the region, which created temporary disaster exemptions from property taxes for property owners in the impacted areas.

July 2023

Saturday, July 15 – Saturday, July 29

Throughout July 2023, area businesses and agencies continued to make donations and raise awareness for tornado recovery in Perryton and flood recovery in the Amarillo area.

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During the weekend of July 15-16, multiple concert events were held to raise disaster relief funds for Perryton, featuring headliners such as Aaron Watson, the Cody Sparks Band, Jason D. Williams, and Michael Martin Murphey.

By the end of July, the city of Perryton had gathered to organize the “Perryton Strong” rally to feature local vendors as well as resources for community members in the wake of the tornado.

August 2023

In August, students in Perryton returned to school less than three months after the EF-3 tornado, after many, including the high school football players, spent their summer working to help the community recover from the lasting damage caused by the storm.

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At the same time, the US Small Business Administration granted a disaster declaration request to assist Perryton residents in the wake of the June tornado with low-interest disaster loans for the impacted residents. Further, despite the damage around the core of the city, Perryton continued in August with its “Wheatheart of the Nation” celebration, featuring community events throughout the month to raise community morale as well as support the attending vendors.

For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.

OVERVIEW: The June 2023 Perryton tornado timeline, coverage (2024)
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