1 dead as tornado hits south Texas near Gulf coast, dozens of homes damaged

One person was killed and a curfew was imposed after a powerful tornado tore through a community near the southern tip of Texas before dawn on Saturday, damaging dozens of residences

AP Laguna Heights (US)
Tornado aftermath, damaged building

Representational Image

Listen to This Article

One person was killed and a curfew was imposed after a powerful tornado tore through a community near the southern tip of Texas before dawn on Saturday, damaging dozens of residences and knocking down power lines, authorities said.

At least 10 others were hospitalised, including two people who were listed in critical condition, said Tom Hushen, the emergency management coordinator for Cameron County. Many residents also suffered cuts and bruises.

A nighttime curfew for those 17 and under was issued by Eddie Trevino Jr., the Cameron County judge, and is expected to end May 16 to mitigate the effects of this public health and safety emergency.

The order also forbids non-residents of Laguna Heights from entering its residential areas.

The tornado hit at about 4 am as most people were in their homes asleep in the unincorporated community of Laguna Heights, located on the mainland across from South Padre Island, off the Gulf of Mexico. The county has among the highest poverty rates in Texas and is dotted with substandard housing.

There was no advance warning. Instead, the first warning of a tornado went out at the same time it was touching ground, said Barry Goldsmith, a warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Brownsville.

Also Read

Daunting recovery underway in Mississippi as devastating tornado kills 25

18,000 cows killed in Texas dairy farm explosion, deadliest barn fire in US

Thousands in US's Texas off power amid freezing temp due to Arctic blast

Texas man kills 5 neighbours, including 8-yr-old boy on complain of gunfire

Turkey probes contractors as earthquake death toll breaches 33,000 mark

Four Russian military aircraft shot down near Ukraine's border, says report

Thailand polls today: Voters call for change in military-dominated kingdom

Imran expresses anger over Pak army's interference; asks to form own party

Turkey set to vote in presidential, parliamentary elections today

Excited to transform platform, says Twitter's new CEO Linda Yaccarino

With hurricanes we have the benefit of getting some advance warning; we know it's probably on its way, Trevino said during a Saturday press conference.

With a tornado, like Barry mentioned, it's not a common scenario unless we have a hurricane/tropical cyclone in the area. So, we didn't have the benefit of a warning."

"The hour didn't help, Trevino added.

Roberto Flores, 42, died after being basically crushed as a result of the damage to his mobile home", Trevino said.

The storm was clocked with wind speeds of 86-110 mph (138-177 kph) and was categorised as an EF1 tornado, according to the weather service. It lasted only about two to four minutes but it ravaged the area.

As many as 60 homes were damaged. The county judge signed a disaster declaration, and a temporary shelter in the nearby city of Port Isabel was providing help to 38 people.

Apparently it went straight through that community, said county sheriff Eric Garza. Individuals don't want to leave their houses because they're afraid that somebody will go in there and start stealing stuff.

Garza said his department is helping provide security for the area.

Laguna Heights is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of the US-Mexico border at Brownsville and is not prone to having tornados, although this spring has been active, said weather service meteorologist Angelica Soria. The area is also gearing up for the start of hurricane season.

The Texas tornado follows an outbreak of dozens of twisters in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado that caused damage but no reported deaths.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 14 2023 | 8:26 AM IST

Explore News