This year's Mayfest marks 20th anniversary of destructive storm

It's been 20 years since one of the most destructive hail storms in history struck Mayfest in Fort Worth.

The storm injured more than 100 people. It dumped softball-sized hail and holds the record as the costliest hail storm in Texas, with $1.6 billion in damages.

Pam DeVoe, her husband, their daughter and a friend got caught in the storm. They were in their car, with the kids in the backseat covered with dry cleaning.

"And everything those hail stones hit, little shards of glass on the inside of the front windshield, would come in on us," said DeVoe. "So it would hit, shards, hit, shards, and you could just see the windshield just being concave like this, and the side windows were giving in, so by the time it stopped, of course, the window was shattered we were just covered in little tiny shards of glass."

No fatalities were reported that night in Fort Worth, but there were plenty of injuries.

"I think there were about 60 transports to the hospital that evening," said Fort Worth Parks Director Richard Zavala.

Richard Zavala arrived to see Mayfest destroyed.

"I remember looking at the police supervisor at the time, saying, ‘Where's your CO? Where's your command post?'" said Zavala. "And he said, ‘We don't have one,' and I said, ‘This is it right now.'"

Mayfest now has storm spotters on site every day of the festival and a detailed evacuation plan.

This year's Mayfest kicks off on Thursday. Proceeds from the event will go toward community non-profit programs.


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