December 2015 – TEXAS – A new line of storms was barreling through Texas on Sunday as officials worked to assess damage from a series of tornadoes and severe weather which left at least 11 people dead overnight. Authorities said the full extent of the damage from Saturday’s spate of storms was not yet known — but warned the region should get ready for another hit. Forecasters warned of more “severe” weather and heavy rain.
The same storm system that spawned the deadly twisters in the Dallas area was expected to leave up to 16 to 18 inches of snow in west Texas through Sunday evening, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). With west Texas on alert for snow, the areas hardest-hit overnight were waking up to assess the damage. The storms leveled homes and downed power lines. Heavy rainfall also triggered flash flooding across much of Dallas County, according to the Weather Channel.
The National Weather Service said early Sunday there had been 11 reports of tornadoes overnight — but stressed those numbers were not fully confirmed and said damage assessments would be carried out in the morning. It said there was a “severe threat” in place for the Dallas Fort Worth area into the morning, adding that behind the threat would be more heavy rain. Officials in Collin County confirmed three fatalities from the storms — including two at a Copeville gas station destroyed in the storms, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. Copeville is northeast of Garland.
Eight people were killed in Garland, police there said early Sunday. The force added that 15 people had been taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries and that around 600 structures had been damaged in city, about 20 miles northeast of Dallas. Five of Garland’s fatalities occurred at an intersection in the city. Randy Gore drove up to the scene shortly after the tornado hit the intersection.
“It was terrifying,” Gore told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. “It was heartbreaking, especially being the day after Christmas.” Lamont Shrimp told the station he stopped to help peopled pinned and trapped in damaged vehicles. “That was our main focus, helping getting them out,” Shrimp said. “Getting IV’s in them, just keeping them warm, talking to them, making sure there’s some support. We have several homes leveled and some areas have significant damage,” Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel said in a message to the community Saturday night urging residents to check on neighbors. “We have power lines down as well.” –NBC News