Clickability tracking pixel

Texas Tornado’s Winds Topped 200 mph; 11 Dead in Storms

Authorities across the area were still documenting the damage Sunday morning and meteorologists were working to confirm just how many tornadoes touched down across North Texas.

by The Dallas Morning News / December 27, 2015
Michael Downard stands outside his house in Rowlett, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, the morning after it was struck by a tornado. At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in apparently strong tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area and caused substantial damage this weekend. AP/Rex C. Curry

(TNS) - A tornado that blew through Garland, Texas, killing eight people Saturday night has been classified as an EF4, with winds up to 200 mph.

It was one of two confirmed tornadoes that tore through North Texas in a storm that killed 11 people, including an infant. The National Weather Service confirmed that the tornado that touched ground in Rowlett was an EF3.

The Garland tornado was only the second recorded EF4 in Dallas County. A classified EF4 on May 9, 1927, killed 15 people and injured 40 others.

Authorities across the area were still documenting the damage Sunday morning and meteorologists were working to confirm just how many tornadoes touched down across North Texas. Eleven were reported, including the one in Rowlett. The reported tornadoes started as far south as Hillsboro and moving north toward Blue Ridge and northeast to Sulphur Springs.

“I don’t know if it was one tornado or several,” said meteorologist Matt Bishop. “We’re trying to figure it all out.”

Residents and rescue workers continued to work Sunday morning, battling early heavy rain and the forecast of more downpours in the afternoon.

About 600 buildings in Garland were damaged, many of them completely leveled. Those include businesses and multifamily residences, but most were single-family homes.

“It is total devastation,” police spokesman Lt. Pedro Barineau said.

Tina Kong, 39, and her husband, Andy Kong, 40, of Garland, were watching a movie and eating dinner with their three children and four adult relatives when the storm hit. They had received the notification about the tornado watch on their cellphones, but they weren’t too worried.

“Normally, when you get something like that you think it’s not going to be here,” Andy Kong said. “It’ll go somewhere else.”

But within 30 minutes, a bright blue flash illuminated the room through the windows – which Andy believes was a transformer that exploded. Tina rushed to the door and opened it, and saw debris flying upward. She quickly slammed the door and grabbed her baby.

The family huddled under their couch, which they turned sideways, as their roof was swept away. Tree branches fell into the living room.

“Whoa, is that for real?” Andy Kong recalled thinking.

———

©2015 The Dallas Morning News

Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

E.REPUBLIC Platforms & Programs