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Four Dead, 10 Injured After ‘unprecedented’ Tornado Struck Texas Town, Destroying Homes and Businesses

Four people are dead and 10 injured after an “unprecedented tornado” struck the Texas town of Matador on Wednesday, officials said.

Seven of the injured were transported by emergency medical services to nearby hospitals and three self-transported, the Lubbock Fire Rescue said Thursday.

Matador, located 70 miles northeast of Lubbock with a population of 570 as of the 2020 U.S. census, has been left without power as of early Thursday, the agency said in a news briefing. More than 500 homes and businesses are without power as of 8:45 a.m. Thursday in Motley County, where Matador is, according to PowerOutage.us.

Agencies from across the area are assisting with search and rescue efforts and state resources are in Matador for post-disaster operations, the agency said.

“There was definitely a tornado” that struck Matador around 8 p.m. Wednesday, but its strength and rating won’t be known until surveys are done, said Matt Ziebell, lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Lubbock.

He said that video and photos showed a tornado had occurred and that an off-duty weather service employee had been in the area.

“Definitely buildings and some vehicles were pretty severely damaged,” Ziebell said.

Brandon Moore, senior water superintendent for Matador, said in a phone interview that at least 20 businesses and homes were destroyed and that officials would know more during daylight hours.

Video from NBC affiliate KCBD of Lubbock showed first responders at a flattened commercial building and a tractor-trailer that had been flipped on its side. The station reported it had seen three other toppled big rigs.

The Texas Transportation Department said a highway west of town, U.S. 62, was impassible because of damage from the tornado.

The fire department in Lubbock, around 70 miles to the southwest of Matador, had sent a heavy-rescue team to assist the town.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the communities affected by this disaster,” the fire department tweeted.

The weather service said in a warning that at 8:02 p.m., a confirmed tornado was over Matador, a community of around 600 about 66 miles northeast of Lubbock.

Tornado watches covered most of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles Wednesday.

There were 11 reports of tornadoes in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Wyoming, according to the weather service list of reports. Typically, damage surveys are done to determine whether tornadoes occurred.

Last week in Texas, three people were killed and dozens more injured when an EF3 tornado with peak winds of 140 mph struck Perryton, a city around 160 miles north of Matador.

That tornado, which had a path of more than 6 miles and a maximum width of 880 yards, hit the town June 15, the weather service said.

Source : NBCNews