NBCNEWS.COM - North Texas residents began to take in the devastation on Thursday
wreaked by a series of tornadoes that killed six and injured dozens more
in what Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds described as a "nightmare"
Seven of 14 people who had previously been unaccounted
for had checked in by Thursday morning, Deeds said at a press conference
on Thursday. About 100 people were reported injured and as many as 250
were homeless after the swarm of twisters that ripped up trees and
knocked down homes on Wednesday evening.
The six deceased were all adults, Deeds said. There have been no reports of injuries to first responders, the sheriff said.
"Everything's running smooth, everything's looking good," Deeds said of recovery efforts on Thursday.
Granbury, a town of 8,000 about 65 miles southwest of Dallas, was
thought to be among the worst-hit areas. Images of the town revealed
leveled homes, badly damaged cars, uprooted trees and downed power
"It's rough, very rough. Everything's demolished," a
resident told KXAS as she hurried away from the neighborhood with her
arms around a child. "It was like hell."
The six people who were confirmed dead were in the Rancho Brazos
neighborhood on the outskirts of Granbury, Deeds said. He added that the
homes there were mostly built within the past five years by Habitat for
"I had three different storms that came through but this is the worst one," Deeds said.
tornadoes swept through the towns of Granbury and nearby Cleburne,
causing "heavy damage," Deeds said. The search for other people who
might have gotten caught up in the storm continued with day break.
been assured by my deputies on the scene that they're pretty confident
with the six that they found, but there was a report that two of these
people that they found were not even near their homes. So we're going to
have to search the area out there," Deeds said.
seemed to have caused less damage in Cleburne, where Mayor Scott Cain
told KXAS. The town did "have the potential for some injuries," Cain
The National Weather Service reported three tornadoes across Montague
and Hood counties. Storm surveys to determine the extent of the damage
were planned for Hood, Johnson, Montague, and Parker counties on
Thursday, the weather service's Dallas-Fort Worth office announced. At
least ten tornadoes touched ground across Texas on Wednesday evening
according to Mark Fox, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service
in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Some witnesses have said the tornado that
swept through Johnson County may have been as much as a mile wide. While
that twister that hit Granbury was smaller, it struck a more populated
area and was "just as destructive," according to Fox.
the affected areas had a little more than the national average of 13
minutes warning before the tornadoes struck, according to the National
"The warning came well before the tornadoes," Fox
said. Residents of Montague County were alerted about 15 to 30 minutes
before the storm struck, and in Hood County a warning was issued 25
minutes before the tornado touched down.
Nearly forty patients were taken to Lake Granbury Medical Center and
18 discharged, with the majority of injuries including cuts, broken
bones, and some head injuries. A total of eight patients were admitted
to the emergency room at the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in
Fort Worth. Two of the patients were in critical condition as of 4 a.m.
"I've been at LGMC for over 12 years, and we have
never seen a community catastrophe with as many injuries as we did
through last night," said Kyle McCombs, chief of staff at Lake Granbury
Medical Center, in a press release. "However, these are the types of
disasters that our medical team continuously prepares for."
Relocation centers have been set up Granbury Methodist and First Christian churches in Hood County.
The tornado outbreak was by far the year's deadliest, the weather service said. Prior to Wednesday night, there had been three fatal tornadoes this year, killing one person each in Georgia, Mississippi and eastern Texas.
Foster of the American Red Cross, which opened two shelters in
Granbury, told KXAS that 42 people had spent the night in the shelters.
She added that only a quarter of people who are left homeless in such
disasters typically seek shelter with the Red Cross, indicating that
many more had been affected.
"We're going to have a lot of people
who are going to need some help," she said, adding, "It was a really
frightening evening. It was a devastating event for our community."
tornadoes, normal for this time of year, formed as the warm, moist air
of the Texas springtime encountered an upper level storm between Wichita
and Dallas, Fox said. A few thunderstorms hung over the state on
Thursday but the weather system headed eastward for the most part, he
Severe weather was expected to sweep into some parts of the Midwest
and Plains states with the potential for tornadoes heading into the
weekend, the Weather Channel reported.
About 60 departures have
been canceled and 70 flights diverted from Dallas-Forth Worth
International Airport, spokesman David Magana told the Associated Press.
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