Three people were killed and dozens injured when a tornado ripped through the Texas Panhandle town of Perryton in the United States.
The National Weather Service in Amarillo confirmed that a tornado hit the area on Thursday afternoon. But there was no immediate word on its size or wind speeds, meteorologist Luigi Meccariello said.
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Perryton Fire Chief Paul Dutcher told reporters that three people were killed in the storm. He said at least one person was killed in a mobile home park that took a “direct hit” from a tornado.
Dutcher said at least 30 trailers were damaged or destroyed and firefighters were rescuing people from the rubble.
First responders from surrounding areas and from Oklahoma descended on the town, which is home to more than 8,000 people.
Storm chaser Brian Emfinger told Fox Weather that he watched the twister move through a mobile home park, mangling trailers and uprooting trees.
“I had seen the tornado do some pretty serious destruction to the industrial part of town,” he said. “Unfortunately, just west of there, there is just mobile home after mobile home after mobile home that is completely destroyed. There is significant damage.”
Nearly 50,000 customers were without electricity in Texas and Oklahoma, according to the poweroutage.us website.
Ochiltree General Hospital in Perryton on Facebook said “Walking/wounded please go to the clinic. All others to the hospital ER.”
The hospital also said an American Red Cross shelter had been set up at the Ochiltree County Expo Center.
“We got slammed” by patients, said Kelly Judice, the hospital’s interim CEO. “We have seen somewhere between 50 and 100 patients,” Judice said, including about 10 in critical condition who were transferred to other hospitals.
Patients had minor to major trauma, ranging from “head injuries to collapsed lungs, lacerations, broken bones,” she said.
Chris Samples of local radio station KXDJ-FM said the station was running on auxiliary power. “The whole city is out of power,” he said.
By evening, the weather front was moving southeast across Oklahoma.
The weather service said a second round of storms would continue to move through that state and parts of Texas through the evening while the risk of severe weather, including tornados, remained for the metropolitan Oklahoma City area.