Midland Offices Overcome Tornado Damage, Continue Customer Care

Midland Tornado

The weather forecast in Midland, Texas, seemed normal the morning of May 30. The high would be around 100, but Shop Lead Johnathon Roderick said that is to be expected this time of year.

“I think it was, you know, higher winds,” Roderick said about the forecast. “10 to 20 mile per hour winds later in the day is what was expected.”

Clear skies most of the day gave way to a storm that exceeded expectations, as shortly after 5 p.m., weather alerts for a possible tornado and baseball-sized hail appeared on Midland workers’ phones.

Roderick said he left work about five minutes before the warnings came. He saw what looked like a dust storm out of the window of his truck and thought little of it.

“Like a minute later, I luckily was going under an underpass,” Roderick said. “It just happened so fast. It started raining really bad — crazy, ridiculous winds — so I just ended up staying under the underpass.”

Jerome Goodboe — the health, safety, and environment manager — had left by the time the storm arrived to pick up his kids. HSE Coordinator Jonathan Villarreal, who was on vacation that day, heard about the storm before Goodboe and gave him a call.

“He was like, ‘Hey, the Midland shop just got hit by a tornado,’” Goodboe said. “I thought he was joking.”

A tornado went over the Mesa maintenance and field shops in Midland, and the storm also brought over 30 minutes of hail as large as golf balls. The wind and hail broke or bent every bay door at the field office, which saw most of the damage, caused two ceilings to fall in, damaged personal and company vehicles, knocked out the power, and mor

Goodboe said that crews at the field shop had less than 10 minutes after the alerts came on their phones to prepare for the storm. They got everyone inside and hudled in the bathrooms, which is what the office’s emergency action plan requires.

“It’s a solid reaction on their part,” Goodboe said about the field shop workers. Each of Mesa’s locations has its own emergency action plan that is in place for situations just as this. We always hope we never need to use it. 

Employees at the maintenance shop took cover as well — everyone was accounted for, and nobody got injured. After the storm passed, Goodboe said leaders did a good job quickly assessing the damage and getting everyone sent home.

The next day, the team came in with a plan to have field office personnel work out of the maintenance office if needed, but despite two rooms having their ceilings fall and all the bay doors damaged, the building was still usable.

Both locations were still without power, though, so crews got creative to make sure they could still serve their customers. Someone took the bump station — a machine used to test gas monitors each day — outside and used a pickup truck to power it.

“They were ready to get back to work,” Goodboe said.

Roderick and Goodboe said it is hard to know when everything that was damaged in the storm will be fixed, as other buildings in the area had similar damage and will require similar fixes.

The shops kept their work going through the ordeal, though, despite the damage and lack of power, which only lasted until June 1.

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