US Midwest storm brings twisters, floods; not over yet
GARLAND: The storm system that spawned tornadoes in Texas over the weekend was bringing winter storm woes to the Midwest and worsening flooding already being blamed for more than a dozen deaths.
At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in the tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area and caused substantial damage. The storms and flooding in Missouri and Illinois were the latest in a succession of severe weather events across the US that have led to at least 43 deaths in less than a week.
The damage began to come into view in North Texas, where local officials estimated as many as 1,450 homes were damaged or destroyed. Vehicles were mangled, power lines fell and trees were toppled.
"This is a huge impact on our community and we're all suffering," Garland Police Lt. Pedro Barineau said of the suburb about 20 miles (30 kilometres) northeast of Dallas, where eight people died, 15 were injured and about 600 structures, mostly single-family homes, were damaged.
The weather service said an EF-4 tornado, which is the second-most powerful with winds up to more than 200 mph (322 kph), hit the community at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday.
Natalie Guzman (33), took photos of her family's home in a Garland neighborhood. The garage wall had collapsed and the roof fell in. The only part of the house that appeared to be spared was the master bathroom, where her brother-in-law took shelter Saturday night. He was the only one at home and told her he had just enough time to get himself and his dogs into the bathroom.
"It was worse than I thought," Guzman said, comparing the scene to the photos he had sent Saturday.
In the nearby town of Rowlett, City Manager Brian Funderburk said Sunday morning that 23 people were injured, but that there were no deaths and no reports of missing people.
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.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made disaster declarations Sunday for four counties including Dallas and warned that the number of victims could rise.
The governors of Oklahoma and Missouri declared states of emergency.
Six people died overnight when two separate vehicles drove into flooded roadways in Missouri, Pulaski County Sheriff Ronald Long said.
In southern Illinois, authorities said three adults and two children drowned Saturday evening when the vehicle they were riding in was swept away and sank in a rain-swollen creek.