Emergency responders are searching for survivors after a series of tornadoes and other severe weather events created havoc across North Texas on Saturday, resulting in the deaths of at least 11 people.
"As of right now, we are still in the search and rescue mode," Rowlett police spokesman Det. Cruz Hernandez said. "We still have some homes that have been demolished and not everyone in the homes has been accounted for."
The twisters — accompanied by torrential rain, wind and some hail — were responsible for eight deaths in Garland, two deaths in the unincorporated town of Copeville and another death in Blue Ridge, according to Fox 4 News and the Associated Press.
About 600 structures were damaged, the majority of which were single-family homes. Garland Police Lt. Pedro Barineau called it "total devastation."
Dallas County Health and Human Service Director Zack Thompson said the area “looks like a war zone.”
Forecasters said two of the tornadoes that hit the Dallas area had winds nearing 200 mph.
The weather service said the tornado in the suburb of Garland has been rated an EF-4. That's the second-most powerful tornado on the damage scale used by meteorologists and is generally strong enough to level well-constructed homes and toss cars. The weather service also said damage in nearby Rowlett indicated it was likely an EF-3 tornado, which has winds up to 165 mph.
Four people killed were involved in traffic accidents during the massive storm, according to Garland police spokesman Joe Harn. At least three people who died were found in vehicles, Barineau said, though it's unclear if they were among the four involved in traffic accidents. Barineau added that some cars appeared to be thrown from Interstate 30 and George Bush Turnpike when the tornado hit about 6:45 p.m. Saturday. It wasn't known whether that was the case for the people found in the vehicles.
Collin County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Harvey confirmed the three
non-Garland deaths, but didn’t provide the details of their deaths.
At least 38 people have been reported injured throughout the state.