A severe storm slammed the tiny northern Texas town of Matador on Wednesday evening, killing at least four people and injuring at least nine others, officials said Thursday.
The fire department in nearby Lubbock, Texas, called the storm an “unprecedented tornado” and said Matador opened a cooling center due to the “record-breaking” heat in the region. Lubbock Fire Rescue said it sent a crew to assist at the scene.
Earlier, Matador Mayor Pat Smith told CBS News’ Patrick Torphy that crews were digging people out of rubble and carried some bodies away.
Smith said roughly 10 structures were destroyed.
Reports from storm chasers and meteorologists on social media showed considerable damage around Matador, with damaged homes, utility lines, trees and infrastructure.
Matador is a town of about 570 people 70 miles northeast of Lubbock in Motley County.
Meteorologist David Payne of CBS Oklahoma City affiliate KWTV said the destruction “looks like EF4 damage to me.” EF4 is a categorization of tornadoes on a scale of one-to-five, with five being the most severe. EF4s pack winds of up to 200 mph.
William Iwasko, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Lubbock, told The New York Times the storm was “most likely a tornado” based on the damage and that it would be determined for sure on Thursday.
The weather service’s Lubbock office reported just after 8 p.m. Wednesday that law enforcement confirmed a tornado just north of Matador.
Shortly after 9:30 p.m., Iwasko said there had been three confirmed tornadoes in a line of storms, but it appeared the one around Matador was the only one that caused significant damage.
The Avalanche-Journal reported that the storms produced softball-size hail and gusts topping 100 mph in communities including Jayton.
There were widespread power outages in the region.
The worst damage appeared to be in Matador.
Wednesday’s severe weather came six days after a tornado left three people dead and more than 100 injured in Perryton in the northern Texas Panhandle.
Source : CBSNews