At Least 1 Dead, Others Missing In Texas Tornadoes

Sunday, May 10th 2015, 9:23 am
By: News 9

Authorities said at least one person was killed and others were missing after tornadoes touched down Saturday in North Texas.

Walter Fairbanks, fire chief in the town of Cisco, told CBS station KTVT in Dallas that one person had died and another was critically hurt.

Eastland County Judge Rex Fields said authorities were going house to house to assess the damage in the sparsely populated area, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth, but that proved difficult amid the heavy rainfall.

"There is a considerable amount of damage," Fields, who also serves as the county's emergency services coordinator, told The Associated Press. "Homes have been lost."

The extent of injuries or fatalities wasn't immediately clear in Cisco or in the town of Burkburnett, about 15 miles north of Wichita Falls, where the second tornado touched down. A police dispatcher who declined to give her name due to department policy told the AP tornado sirens could be heard in Burkburnett just before 6 p.m.

Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service elevated to "moderate" the risk of tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and elsewhere across North Texas. Eastland County, which was part of the enhanced zone, was pelted with three-inch hail as the storm rumbled through.

"As expected, the environment in North Texas is particularly favorable (for tornadoes)," said Bill Bunting, the chief of operations at the Norman, Oklahoma-based Storm Prediction Center.

Storms also brought heavy rain and quarter-sized hail to parts of southwest Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon, but meteorologists said there was so much rain -- and so little sun -- that the tornado threat there lessened throughout the day. Parts of western Kansas also were bracing for severe storms.

But 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's forecast track is expected to go near the coasts of North and South Carolina on Sunday.

Meanwhile, up to five inches of snow was possible in the Nebraska Panhandle this weekend, and parts of South Dakota could receive between 12 to 24 inches of snow, according to the weather service.