At least 11 dead from Texas tornadoes; 13 dead in Midwest flooding

GARLAND, Texas -- At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in strong tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area and caused substantial damage this weekend, while 13 people died in flooding in the Midwest.

See Full Article

It was the latest of a succession of powerful weather events across the country, from heavy snow in New Mexico, west Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle to flooding in parts of the Plains and Midwest. Days of tumultuous weather have led to 43 deaths overall -- those in Texas, plus five in Illinois, eight in Missouri and 19 in the Southeast.

The full extent of damage from Saturday's storms along a nearly 40-mile stretch near Dallas came into clear focus. Local officials estimated as many as 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Vehicles were mangled, power lines fell and trees were toppled. Heavy rain, wind and falling temperatures hampered cleanup efforts Sunday afternoon.

"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 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, hit the community at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday. It was near the intersection of Interstate 30 and George Bush Turnpike, which is a major route in the region. At least three people who died were found in vehicles, said Barineau, who also noted that some cars appeared to be thrown from the interstate, though it wasn't known whether that was how the people found in the vehicles died.

Natalie Guzman, 33, took photos of her family's home in a Garland neighbourhood. 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.

The destruction in Garland was so overwhelming that Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declared the city a disaster within mere minutes of seeing the toll firsthand.

"I don't declare local disasters lightly," Jenkins said. "But I looked at the scene for 10 minutes, spoke to the incident commander and then called the lawyers to bring the paperwork."

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. The weather service said damage indicated it was likely an EF-3 tornado, which has winds up to 165 mph.

Dale Vermurlen lived in a Rowlett neighbourhood that sustained heavy damage. His house only had minor damage, but was next to that were flattened.

"I grabbed both dogs by the collars and held on to the toilet. I said, 'OK, this could be it, boys."'

Homes in the neighbourhood 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.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made disaster declarations Sunday for four counties -- Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and Ellis -- and warned that the number of victims could rise.

On the other side of the state, the Department of Public Safety in Amarillo strongly discouraged travel throughout the entire Texas Panhandle -- a 26-county area covering nearly 26,000 square miles -- because blowing and drifting snow had made the roads impassable. Interstate 40, the main east-west highway across the Panhandle, was almost completely shut down. DPS said only a small section of the highway in Amarillo remained open.

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.

Further north, rain caused dangerous driving conditions and flooding in Missouri, where Gov. Jay Nixon also declared a state of emergency, and Illinois.

Six people died overnight when two separate vehicles drove into flooded roadways in south-central Missouri, Pulaski County Sheriff Ronald Long said. Greene County authorities said two fatalities there were associated with the flooding.

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.

The death toll in the Southeast linked to severe weather rose to 19 on Sunday when Alabama authorities found the body of a 22-year-old man whose vehicle was swept away while attempting to cross a bridge; a 5-year-old's body was recovered for that incident Saturday. Ten people have died in Mississippi, and six died in Tennessee. One person was killed in Arkansas.

------

Associated Press writers Michael Graczyk in Houston; Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas; Maria Sudekum in Kansas City, Missouri; Ken Kusmer in Indianapolis; Terry Tang in Phoenix; and Jonathan Landrum Jr. in Atlanta contributed to this report.




Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Police chief renews calls for mass casualty plan in wake of Broncos bus crash

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA -- A retired police chief wants the coroner's office in Saskatchewan to develop a plan for responding to mass casualties. Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill says the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists. Source
  • Ex-NAACP chief who posed as black pleads not guilty to fraud

    World News CTV News
    SPOKANE, Wash. -- A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black pleaded not guilty to welfare fraud on Wednesday. Nkechi Diallo, formerly known as Rachel Dolezal, made a brief appearance in Spokane County Superior Court. Source
  • 150 years in prison for Quebec mosque shooter would deprive him of hope: defence

    Canada News CTV News
    QUEBEC -- All Canadians have rights, including murderers like Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette, and they also have the capacity to be rehabilitated, the convicted killer's lawyer argued Wednesday. The Crown wants Bissonnette to serve a 150-year prison term but his defence team says he should be eligible for parole after 25 years. Source
  • Winnipeg educational assistant sentenced to 3.5 years for sex with student

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- A former educational assistant who gave a student money, food and drugs as their relationship intensified has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years behind bars for sexual exploitation. Sheryl Dyck, who was 42 at the time, was arrested in 2015 after seven months of having oral sex that progressed to intercourse with the 16-year-old boy. Source
  • Rob Ford's widow gets suspended sentence, 3 years probation in impaired driving case

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to impaired driving. A judge ordered three years of probation and 100 hours of community service for Renata Ford, and also issued a two-year driving ban and a $1,100 fine for the 2016 incident. Source
  • Former Mountie with PTSD sues Ottawa after multiple northern postings

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A former Mountie suffering from PTSD after multiple postings in isolated, high risk communities has filed a lawsuit against the federal government. In a statement of claim filed in Federal Court in Halifax, a lawyer says John Christopher Bewsher was exposed to "psychologically traumatic events" in Labrador and Nunavut and received no psychological evaluation, support or counselling. Source
  • More documents from Panama Papers law firm leak out, exposing its panic

    World News CBC News
    More private documents from the Panamanian law firm at the centre of one of the biggest-ever leaks of financial records have been exposed, showing how enraged its clients were, global media outlets are revealing today. Mossack Fonseca saw 11.5 million of its client files anonymously leaked to journalists in 2016 in what became known as the Panama Papers. Source
  • World expresses outrage at Trump policy on separating migrant families

    World News CBC News
    Outrage continued to grow around the world Wednesday over the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant parents from children, including infants, at the U.S. southern border. Here is a partial list of the institutions and individuals speaking out against it. Source
  • Drivers began drag race in front of unmarked police car: OPP

    Canada News CTV News
    GODERICH, Ont. -- Provincial police say two young drivers have been charged after allegedly beginning a drag race right in front of an unmarked police car in Goderich, Ont. They say the incident happened last Tuesday at about 10:30 p.m. Source
  • Another honour for Viola Desmond: 'She would be humbled and overjoyed'

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- After decades of being overlooked, human rights trailblazer Viola Desmond is receiving yet another posthumous honour. Desmond, who was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto last year, will be honoured June 29 with a star in her hometown of Halifax. Source