The grand lady got a face-lift and complete body makeover more than two years ago, but when you are 112 years old, there are just no guarantees.
Winds gusting to 65 mph Sunday evening and again into the 40 mph range Monday morning were too much for Themis, the Greek goddess of justice, on top of the McLennan County Courthouse.
And the statue wasn’t the only casualty, with numerous trees toppled or damaged throughout the county, along with thousands of residents temporarily left without electricity.
County workers found the 18-foot-tall statue’s left arm on the courthouse lawn Monday morning, and the scales of justice bolted onto her left hand were found in a magnolia tree nearby.
Her left arm, made of lightweight metal, had a large dent in the bicep area where it either hit a tree on the way down or the ground, said Dustin Chapman, county grant and legal specialist.
Her left thumb was knocked off in the fall, and there is a gaping hole behind the left index finger.
“I regret that the symbol of justice has once again become ‘disarmed,’ ” 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother said. “Nevertheless, true justice is alive and well in all the courts of McLennan County.”
Renovation of the 5,900-pound statue, two smaller statues and statues of 12 eagles circling the courthouse dome were all part of a $2.6 million courthouse roof and dome renovation project completed in 2011 by Johnson Roofing Co.
County Judge Scott Felton said Monday the statue will be repaired and county officials will need to get an estimate on costs.
When Themis was removed in February 2011, her left arm was gone and birds nested in her head, creating a fist-sized hole.
There also were 30 quarter-size holes throughout her body, likely caused by hail damage through the years, and her trademark sword of justice had long been lost in a storm.
Mike Anderson, project manager for Johnson Roofing, said at the time that the repairs should hold up well for a few decades.
But he added the statue still is composed mostly of original materials from 1902, and there is no guarantee how much longer the metal will last.
“Her metal is . . . old,” Anderson said in 2011. “The places we fixed are solid and intact, but that’s not to say she couldn’t break again somewhere in a windstorm or something. There’s just no way to prevent that.”
The strong winds and rain that swept through the area Sunday evening and Monday morning left city and county cleanup crews with plenty of debris from fallen limbs and trees.
City of Waco spokesman Larry Holze said the city’s solid waste office fielded from 300 to 400 calls for brush pickup Monday. He asked that residents show patience and said the city would pick up brush piles as quickly as it can.
He said with the extent of the tree damage, it could take a week to two weeks for the city to pick up the limbs and brush.
Those needing brush pickup can call 299-2612 and put in a work order, Holze said. By 9:30 a.m. Monday, the line of storms had passed through Waco and was heading southeast to Fort Hood, Killeen, Temple and Cameron.
In McLennan County, Oncor officials were reporting about 2,000 homes were without electricity Sunday night and Monday morning because of a storm that produced winds up to 60 mph that blew through about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
China Spring volunteer firefighters responded to a large pecan tree that fell against a house on Goldman Lane about 8 a.m. Monday, while Waco city officials had part of the road blocked off at North 18th Street just past Columbus Avenue, where a 60-foot-tall oak tree split in half.
Wyndell Jones surveyed the damage Monday morning caused when the huge tree split down the middle Sunday evening and damaged his two-story home, his truck and vehicles belonging to his daughter and son-in-law.
Half of the tree hit Jones’ 2007 Ford pickup in the driveway and struck the roof and porch of the home at 2011 Columbus Ave.
The other half split and fell across the street, hitting a 2011 Chevrolet Traverse owned by Jones’ daughter and a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and a 16-foot trailer owned by his son-in-law.
Jones, whose 3,000-square-foot home was built in 1907, said city crews will clear the portion of the roadway blocked by the tree, but he and his insurance company will be responsible for the rest.
Waco Regional Airport recorded 3.95 inches of rain in the hour from 5:53 p.m. to 6:53 p.m. Sunday. Another .4 of an inch fell between 8:51 a.m. and 10:51 a.m. Monday.
Mark Fox, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said the line of storms that went through Waco on Monday morning lost its punch a bit, but still carried winds up to 40 mph. The chances for rain for the next few days are low, Fox said.