Several tornadoes ripped through North Texas ranch and farming country, leaving one person dead and others unaccounted for in a sparsely populated area over the weekend, authorities said.
One of the tornadoes on Saturday shattered homes in a rural area south of Cisco, a town about 100 miles west of Fort Worth, Eastland County Judge Rex Fields said.
“The homes that I’ve seen, there are just maybe one or two walls standing,” Fields, who also serves as the county’s emergency services coordinator, told The Associated Press.
Fields said one person was killed and there were likely other injuries. Authorities were going house to house to assess the damage, but that proved difficult amid the heavy rainfall.
The extent of injuries or fatalities also wasn’t immediately clear in the town of Burkburnett, about 15 miles north of Wichita Falls, where a second tornado touched down. A police dispatcher who declined to give her name due to department policy said tornado sirens could be heard in Burkburnett just before 6 p.m. CDT Saturday.
Elsewhere, storms brought heavy rain and quarter-sized hail to parts of southwest Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon, but meteorologists said a tornado threat there had diminished as the hours wore on Sunday.
Parts of western Kansas also were hit by severe weather ripe for tornadoes. In Kansas City, in the eastern part of the state, a band of rain halted NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway for a time.
The threatening skies stretched beyond the Plains states, as twin weather systems stretching from the Carolinas to California produced an unseasonably early tropical storm in the Atlantic and a late-season snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains. Tropical Storm Ana was reported early Sunday to be just off the coast of South Carolina, weakening with top sustained winds of 45 mph.
Meanwhile, weekend snow was in the forecast in parts of the Rockies, the Nebraska Panhandle and parts of South Dakota, the weather service said.
“We’ve got a late-season winter storm that’s bringing some significant snow to parts of the Rockies all the way up to the northern Plains,” said Bruce Sullivan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He said some areas up into Wyoming and South Dakota’s Black Hills could be in for several inches of snowfall. He called that “unusual” for so late in the year.
(Dallas Morning news)