At least 11 dead in US tornados as cars tossed off roads by storm
National Weather Service warns of ‘crippling blizzard’ in Texas and Oklahoma
Lightning illuminates a house after a tornado touched down in Jefferson County, Alabama, damaging several houses on Christmas day. Photograph: Butch Dill/AP Photo
At least 11 people were killed in the Dallas area of the US from a storm system packing torrential rains and unleashing a string of tornadoes that toppled homes, cut power lines and snarled transport for people returning from the Christmas holidays.
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. Three other deaths were reported in the Dallas metro area, the nation’s fourth most populous, with about seven million people. Scores of people were injured in the region, officials said.
“It is total devastation,” said Garland Police spokesman Lieutenant Pedro Barineau said. “It is a very difficult time to be struck by such a horrible storm the day after Christmas.” 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. Five tornadoes were reported in Texas and one in Oklahoma on Saturday, the National Weather Service said. More could be on their way on Sunday, said the service, which has issued a tornado watch for several Houston-area counties. The service has also issued severe weather warning for large parts of the central United States on Sunday that include a blizzard warning for parts of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas and a flash flood watch stretching from Texas to Ohio.
The weekend tornadoes follow a series that hit just before the Christmas holiday, mostly in the US south and leaving at least 17 dead. About 25,000 customers in Texas were without power on Sunday morning, according to local utility companies.
In severe weather elsewhere, the service said up to 2 feet (60 cm) of snow could fall in parts of eastern New Mexico, with drifts as high as 8 feet. “Travel will be dangerous and impossible across much of the east,” it said. Much of Arkansas was under a hazardous weather outlook, with some parts of the state expected to be hit with up to 6 inches (15 cm) of rain on Sunday.