Tornadoes rip through Texas and Oklahoma, causing injuries

Southwest

POWDERLY, Texas (AP) — Tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Friday, flattening homes, a church and toppling trees, with local officials in one Texas county reporting at least two dozen people injured.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said search and rescue teams as well as generators were being sent to the Idabel area in McCurtain County, which state emergency officials said was the hardest-hit by the storms.

“Praying for Oklahomans impacted by today’s tornadoes,” Stitt said in a Twitter post.

Keli Cain of the Oklahoma Emergency Management Office said at least three other counties were also hit by storms, with flash flooding in some areas. Officials in Oklahoma did not yet have official details on any injuries or deaths.

The National Weather Service had issued multiple tornado warnings on Friday stretching from the Dallas-Fort Worth area into Oklahoma. The storm system was then headed toward Arkansas and Louisiana.

In Texas, one community hit hard was Powderly, Texas, near the border with Oklahoma and about 120 miles northeast of Dallas.

Randi Johnson, chief of the Powderly Volunteer Fire Department, told The Paris News newspaper that she wasn’t aware anyone had been killed but knew of injuries.

“It’s going to take a long time to get this cleaned up, but the community came together,” Johnson said. “It’s really heartbreaking to see.”

Lamar County Judge Brandon Bell — the highest elected official in the county that includes Powderly — declared a disaster in the area, a step in getting federal assistance and funding. Bell’s declaration said at least two dozen people were injured across the county in what he said was a confirmed tornado.

The Lamar County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management said in a news release that 10 injured people had been treated at an area hospital, and two of those people had critical injuries. It said at the time the news release was issued there had been no deaths reported.

The Sheriff’s Office said the tornado touched down shortly after 4 p.m. and traveled north-northeast through the communities of Hopewell, Caviness, Beaver Creek and Powderly. It said about 50 homes had been damaged or destroyed.

Churches opened their doors to serve as shelters for those whose homes were damaged.

The National Weather Service had issued multiple tornado warnings stretching from the Dallas-Fort Worth area into neighboring Oklahoma. The storm system was then headed toward Arkansas and Louisiana.

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