As strong Tornadoes swept through Dallas, at least 11 people have been reported dead. The tumultuous weather for last few days has left 43 people dead across the United States. Near Dallas, around 1,450 homes were damaged after a strong tornado swept across the region. As per official estimates, 40-mile stretch near Dallas has witnessed the biggest impact of the EF-4 tornado.
Power lines were damaged in the region and due to heavy rain and wind, the rescue efforts were impacted. In Garland, 20 miles northeast of Dallas, eight people were reported dead and 15 others injured.
An EF-4 tornado is classified as the second most powerful tornado with wind speed more than 200 miles per hour. The largest impact of the tornado was witnessed near the intersection of Interstate 30 and George Bush Turnpike.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said, “I don't declare local disasters lightly. But I looked at the scene for 10 minutes, spoke to the incident commander and then called the lawyers to bring the paperwork.”
An EF-3 tornado with wind speed up to 165 mph was witnessed in nearby town Rowlett. 23 people were reported injured in Rowlett. As per official estimates, 600 homes were damaged in Rowlett.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued disaster declarations for four counties - Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and Ellis, on Sunday. People were discouraged to travel though the entire Texas Panhandle.
Interstate 40, the main east-west highway across the Panhandle, was almost completely shut down. Department of Public Safety in Amarillo informed that only a small section of the highway in Amarillo remained open.
The worst-hit area was in Garland, northeast of Dallas, where eight people were killed, cars blown off highways and homes flattened, officials said on Sunday. Five of the deaths in Garland were believed to have been related to vehicles having been struck by a tornado near State Highway 190 and Interstate 30. More than 600 structures in North Texas suffered damage from the tornadoes and storms, officials said.
Homes in the neighborhood that had been searched by emergency responders were marked with a black "X." In some instances, it looked like homes had been picked up and set back down in a big pile. State troopers blocked off roads, utility crews restored power and people walked around, hushed and dazed.
Three other people died in Collin County, about 45 miles northeast of Dallas, according to sheriff's deputy Chris Havey, although the circumstances were not immediately clear.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency as there were blizzard conditions and an ice storm warning out west and flood warnings in the east, where one community had received 9 inches of rain. The state Department of Emergency Management said eight storm-related injuries were reported. About 60,000 homes and businesses were without power.
Six tornadoes were reported in Texas and one in Oklahoma on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.
Three tornadoes were reported in Arkansas on Sunday, the weather service said, but there were no initial reports of significant injuries or damage. The service has issued tornado watches and warnings for areas in that state, as well as in parts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
A tornado watch means a storm is likely, while a warning means a storm or storms have been sighted.
The weather service issued severe weather advisories for large parts of the central United States, including a blizzard warning for parts of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas and a flash flood watch stretching from Texas to Indiana.