Washington: A “horrific” tornado ripped through a northern Texas town Thursday causing widespread destruction, with reports that at least three people were killed and up to 100 others injured.
Several million Americans across multiple southern and midwestern states were under severe weather alerts as dangerous storms fueled by high temperatures battered the region, bringing tornadoes, thunderstorms and hail the size of golf balls.
Tornado, severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings were in effect in parts of Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Florida.
A fierce tornado slammed Perryton, a town of some 8,000 people in the Texas Panhandle, on Thursday evening with storm-chaser drone video showing several buildings including mobile homes destroyed or damaged, trees uprooted and vehicles overturned.
Perryton Fire Chief Paul Dutcher told ABC News that three people were confirmed dead and an estimated 100 had been treated at local hospitals with minor to severe injuries. Some patients were transferred to trauma centers, he said.
A trailer park in the area was one of the locations that took a direct hit, according to Dutcher.
In a statement, Governor Greg Abbott said “Texas is swiftly deploying critical emergency response resources to provide all necessary support and assistance to protect Texans and help those impacted by tornadoes in Perryton,” including search and rescue teams, medical personnel, and crews aiming to restore electricity and water service.
“I ask all Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for our fellow Texans who have been impacted by this horrific storm. Stay safe, Texas.”
A state lawmaker, Representative Four Price, said on Facebook that “many structures are damaged” and “the state is engaging additional medical help to triage ER.”
“This is a serious situation,” he added.
Storm chaser Brian Emfinger, who shot drone footage over Perryton, said he saw “significant damage” including in the industrial section of town.
“Unfortunately northwest of there, there is just mobile home after mobile home after mobile home that is just completely destroyed. There is significant damage,” Emfinger told Fox Weather’s YouTube channel.
The National Weather Service reported a tornado watch was in effect for parts of north and central Texas including Dallas, a city of 1.2 million people.
“Large hail and damaging wind gusts are the main threats, but a tornado or two can’t be ruled out,” NWS said in a statement.