Eight dead after Saturday night North Texas tornado outbreak
Eight people are dead across North Texas after a tornado outbreak Saturday evening.
Five people died in Garland, two in Copeville and one in Blue Ridge. Copeville is an unincorporated town in Collin County next to Lake Lavon.
A Garland police spokesman said the deaths there are believed to have occurred when a tornado struck vehicles in the area of I-30 and Bush Turnpike.
The tornadoes it parts of Collin, Dallas and Ellis Counties as dangerous weather moved through North Texas the day after Christmas. Tornado Warnings started being issued Saturday afternoon and continued into the night.
“I just heard a noise I’d never heard in my life,” a woman told FOX4's James Rose live on FOX4 News at 9. “My kids started screaming.” That woman survived the tornado in a Rowlett neighborhood, but the entire roof of her two-story home was ripped off.
Numerous photos and video sent to FOX4 showed a large tornado that appeared to move through the Garland and Rowlett areas near Lake Ray Hubbard.
A Garland police spokesman told FOX4 the tornado appeared to hit the hardest in the southeast part of Garland near I-30 and Bush Turnpike area. He said there were reports of numerous houses damaged along with an apartment community.
“There are reports of many people injured and we’re working with the fire department to dispatch them out to where fires have been reported,” Garland PD’s Pedro Barineau said. “If you don’t need to be out, don’t be out looking around.”
Zach Thompson, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director, was on the scene in Garland on Saturday night. He said the primary job was to make sure people got found and had a safe place to stay on Saturday night.
“It looks like a war zone. It looks like the tornado did severe damage,” Thompson said.
The emergency manager for Ellis County said some homes have been destroyed and damaged during a fierce storm that spawned tornadoes in the area.
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."