Deaths reported after tornado hits East Texas – Los Angeles Times
Fatalities have been reported and dozens of people were taken to hospitals after a tornado hit a small city in East Texas, authorities said.
Canton Fire Department Capt. Brian Horton said during a news conference late Saturday that âa number of fatalitiesâ were reported, but that it wasn’t yet clear how many, after powerful storms swept through the community earlier in the evening.
The storms left behind a trail of overturned vehicles, mangled trees and damaged homes in and around Canton, which is about 50 miles east of Dallas.
ETMC Regional Heathcare Systems hospitals in the region received at least 54 patients following the storm, including one person in critical condition, spokeswoman Rebecca Berkley said. She said the other patients suffered injuries that weren’t life-threatening.
Horton asked that people who didn’t need to be in the area stay out, âso that our teams can do what they need to do to take care of these people who are in need.â He noted that a triage center was set up at the local high school.
The extent of the damage wasn’t immediately clear. But video from local television stations showed uprooted trees and overturned cars along rural, wet roadways, along with at least two flattened homes. The tornado flipped pickup trucks at a Dodge dealership in Canton and tore through the business.
At least one tornado has been confirmed so far as having touched down in Canton, though several tornadoes were reported in the area, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Fox.
Local resident Ernestine Cook told WFAA-TV that she rushed to a storm center just in time.
âIt hit so hard, so fast. It just kept moving,â she said. âI’ve never seen anything like it after 22 years of living here.â
A dispatcher at the Van Zandt County sheriff’s office said officers were chasing numerous injury reports and declined further comment.
Also Saturday, flooding from heavy rains in the Midwest killed at least one person in Missouri, prompted numerous rescues and blocked roadways.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said a 72-year-old woman drowned despite her husband’s efforts to save her as their vehicle was swept away by rushing waters near Clever in southwest Missouri. The patrol said her body was found after waters receded.
The state reported nearly 100 evacuations and nearly three dozen rescues by late afternoon.
Thunderstorms topped trees and power lines in eastern Oklahoma, while more than 4 inches of snow fell elsewhere in the state.
The governors of Missouri and Oklahoma have declared states of emergency.
Flooding and heavy rains also hit parts of Arkansas, while blizzard warnings were in effect in western Nebraska.
1:50 a.m.: Updated with severe weather in Missouri and Oklahoma.
This article was first published at 1:05 a.m.