Damaging Tornadoes Strike Dallas Area, Killing At Least 7
At least three tornadoes struck the Dallas suburbs Saturday, killing at least seven people, destroying several homes and damaging many more Saturday as Winter Storm Goliath emerged from the western U.S. and began interacting with the record warmth blanketing much of the South, leading to a large zone of severe weather risk.
KXAS-TV said five of the deaths occurred near the intersection of Interstate 30 and the President George Bush Turnpike in Garland, a large city northeast of Dallas that is a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, authorities said. The victims were believed to be in vehicles at the time, Mike Hatfield of the Garland Police Department said. There were also multiple injuries reported at an apartment building south of I-30, he said, but the injuries were not considered life threatening.
Two additional deaths occurred about 17 miles to the north in unincorporated Copeville. Amy Cortez of the Nevada Volunteer Fire Department told The Weather Channel the two people died when a gas station along State Highway 78 was destroyed by winds likely associated with the same tornado that struck Garland minutes earlier.
WFAA television in Dallas showed video of damage to homes, a church and vehicles in Garland as well as from a separate tornado that struck Glenn Heights, 20 miles south of the city.
Search and rescue efforts continued late Saturday evening in the damaged areas east and northeast of Dallas.
In addition to the tornadoes, flooding was reported in the St. Louis area as well as parts of several other states.
(FORECAST: The Latest on Winter Storm Goliath)
Here are some of the biggest impacts from the warm side of Winter Storm Goliath. All times are Central Standard Time unless otherwise noted.
The National Weather Service in Fort Worth relayed spotter reports of a tornado that struck several suburban cities south of Dallas in southern Dallas and northern Ellis counties starting around 6 p.m. Saturday.
The tornado was reported in Ovilla and Desoto, and also reportedly struck portions of Midlothian, Waxahachie, Glenn Heights.
Stephanie Parker is the emergency manager for Ellis County, which is about 30 miles south of Dallas. She posted on Twitter: "We have destroyed and damaged homes. Please do not get out on the roads if you do not have to."
As the tornado developed, Mid-Way Regional Airport clocked a wind gust of 105 mph between 5:55 and 6:15 p.m. The airport is halfway between Midlothian and Waxahachie, 23 miles south of Dallas.
Less than an hour later, The Weather Channel broadcast live video of a cone-shaped tornado in progress near Sunnyvale, Texas, beginning at 6:46 p.m. The long-track tornado smashed northward, nicking the southeast corner of Garland where the four deaths occurred before roaring through neighboring Rowlett. It then crossed parts of Rockwall and Collin counties, passing near Farmersville and causing major damage there according to local fire officials relaying information to the National Weather Service.
Mollie Rivas, the emergency management coordinator for the city of Garland, said at least five homes in that city sustained major damage from the latter tornado.
A third tornado was reported by a trained spotter just northeast of Ennis in Ellis County around 8 p.m.
At least 52,000 Oncor electricity customers were without power across Texas at one point Saturday evening, with 30,000 of those in Dallas County alone. Crews chipped away at the power failures later in the evening, but 27,000 customers still lacked electricity by 10:15 p.m.
In addition to the tornado damage, flash flooding was reported across much of Dallas County due to heavy rainfall.
At Love Field, the public address system warned people to move away from windows in the concourse area, The Associated Press reported. Passengers were later given the all clear to return to their gates.
Flooding was reported across the St. Louis area Saturday as heavy rain drenched the region. More than 3 inches of rain fell in many areas, and the National Weather Service reported flooded roads in parts of Franklin County.
The city of Eureka, along Interstate 44 in St. Louis County, also experienced flooding.
The National Weather Service relayed reports of water rescues in Monett, in the southwestern part of the state, Saturday evening.
The heavy rainfall that affected St. Louis also hit its suburbs across the Mississippi River in southwest Illinois.
Social media showed water ponding in a residential backyard in Granite City on Saturday.
The National Weather Service said a tornado was reported in a rural area of McClain County near Byars just before 2 p.m. Saturday.
Several flash flood warnings were issued in the southern and eastern portions of the state late Saturday as heavy rain drenched a ribbon of counties from the Red River to the Arkansas border.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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