Texas, Arkansas governors declare disasters after deadly tornadoes

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Tornado Damage

A powerful storm system ripped across parts of the Southwest U.S. and Plains states late Sunday night that left at least four dead, dozens more injured or missing, and homes and communities left to clean up extensive damage Monday morning.

More than two dozen tornadoes were reported in parts of Texas, Arkansas, Nashville, South Dakota, and Iowa.

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Weather.com reports four deaths have been confirmed so far and at least 10 people missing in storm ravaged areas. But those numbers vary based on different sources.

In Nashville, Arkansas, the Associated Press reports a young couple was killed Sunday night. However, their toddler-aged daughter miraculously survived.

A mesocyclone photographed near Denton, Texas.

A mesocyclone photographed near Denton, Texas.

In Van, Texas, a city of nearly 2,500, a large tornado reportedly destroyed about one-third of the city. Authorities say at least 43 people were hospitalized with injuries, some of those critically. After the initial tornado, another powerful storm – not yet confirmed to be a tornado – struck the city and caused rescue crews to suspend recovery efforts for a short time.

The governors of Texas and Arkansas declared disasters on Monday in parts of their states hit by tornadoes and floods in a storm series that slammed central states, leaving at least five people dead, injuring more than 50 and reducing buildings to splinters.

One of those was in nearby Cisco, Texas, where a man was killed during a flashflood when his car became stranded and he was swept away and drowned. Some areas reported as much as a foot of rain in just over five hours as the storm system barreled through the area.

In Iowa, a tornado was reported in the town of Lake City, about 100 miles from Des Moines. The storm ripped the roof off a school where an awards ceremony had been taking place with 150 people inside. The large crowd was forced to hunker down in the basement as the storm approached. No major injuries were reported. Eyewitnesses inside the school described the terrifying scene.

HWST_Tornado_Iowa

“The lights went off, and everyone’s ears kind of popped,” said Dave Birks, the school’s girls’ basketball head coach. “They say a tornado sounds like a freight train, and that lasted only 5 or 10 seconds. Everyone came upstairs, and it was a mess.”

In Delmont, South Dakota, an EF2 tornado with winds of at least 130 mph left a string of damage, no electricity, water, or phone service, and several injuries in its wake.

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