CANTON, TX — A severe storm spawned several tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that left at least four people dead and injured more than 50 others Saturday. The pattern of severe weather left major destruction in parts of the midwest and the south over the weekend, leaving a woman dead in Missouri when she drowned in flood waters and killing another person in Arkansas when a tree fell on a mobile home. On Sunday, at least two deaths were reported in Mississippi.
Severe storms battered residents in Van Zandt, Rains and Henderson counties in Texas with much of the damage situated in the small town of Canton, about 60 miles southeast of Dallas. The National Weather Services reported that between three and five tornadoes may have touched down in Canton, Eustace and Caney City, tossing cars and semi-trucks and flattening trees Saturday afternoon. Officials said the Canton tornado was at least a half-mile wide as a moved through town, striking nearby Emory and Fruitvale.
At least one person was killed when a tornado lifted a car in the air and tossed it back to the ground with passengers still inside, according to officials. The East Texas Medical Center system hospitals in the area took in 54 patients, with one of those in critical condition. None of the other patients were suffering life-threatening injuries, officials said.
The American Red Cross of North Texas had set up two shelters for victims displaced by the storms — one at Canton’s First Methodist Church Life Center, the other at the Emory City Center in Emory, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Meanwhile, the search for other tornado victims is expected to continue Sunday, with rescue crews from Texas Task Force 2 expected to arrive early Sunday to assist.
The severe weather hit a wide swath of the midwest and the south, leading the governors of Oklahoma and Missouri to declare a state of emergency in their respective states. In Missouri, a 72-year-old woman drowned even as her husband tried to save her as the car they were in was swept away by rushing waters in Clever, Missouri, reports the Kansas City Star. In Arkansas, a person was killed after a tree fell on a home in the town of De Witt.
Another death was reported in Durant, Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant said. By late Sunday evening, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said a second death had been confirmed in the state after a child suffered an electric shock in floodwaters.
Major flooding is expected to continue in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri and the threat of additional flooding will move into the mid south and Tennessee Valley, according to the National Weather Service. The service also predicts rain across western and central Michigan to Northern Illinois.