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Disaster Date:05/13/2023

Port Isabel, TX

Tornadoes

What Happened

The Port Isabel area was hit with major storms in April/May 2023. The May storm produced a tornado that impacted 109 homes in Laguna Heights, a small unincorporated community nearby. One person was killed. Laguna Heights is mostly low-income, largely consisting of elderly residents who have lived there their whole lives or residents who work in the hospitality industry in nearby Port Isabel and South Padre Island. Those displaced by the tornado are now facing another major issue in the area: the lack of quality, affordable housing.

What MDS Is Doing

In winter 2024, MDS volunteers will work on a mix of new home construction and home repair in response response to the tornado. MDS has previously built homes in Rio Grande Valley in response to flooding events.  

Location

The Rio Grande Valley is located on the southernmost tip of Texas and on the northern bank of the Rio Grande River, which separates Mexico from the United States. This region’s population is one of the fastest growing in the United States. Two popular tourist destinations nearby are South Padre Island and the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.