Texas tornado: At least three dead, dozens more injured

PERRYTON, Texas (NewsNation) — At least three people are dead and dozens more injured after a tornado ripped through northern Texas, leveling homes and businesses in the small panhandle town of Perryton.

The National Weather Service in Amarillo confirmed that a tornado hit the area shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday. Local officials said Thursday night that two people were missing.

Mobile homes were ripped apart and pickup trucks with shattered windshields were slammed against mounds of rubble in residential areas.

“I’m still processing it,” Perryton Mayor Kerry Symons said. “You know, we have lots and lots of houses that were completely destroyed. We have lots of businesses that were completely destroyed. Those people put their lives in their businesses and those people put everything they have in their homes. They have nothing. But you know what, the people in the Texas panhandle are tough, resilient, we will rise up. And we will make this town better than ever.”

So far, there have not been any confirmed reports of how many tornadoes or how strong they were. However, the damage done speaks to the devastating effect of the storm.

Perryton Fire Chief Paul Dutcher said a mobile home took a direct hit and at least 30 trailers were damaged or destroyed.

Photos of the devastation showed buildings torn apart and cars smashed with their windows blown out. A car was even thrown up against the entrance of the movie theater in town.

A number of state agencies were deployed to the town by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott late last night. The governor directed the state Division of Emergency Management to help with everything from traffic control to restoring water and other utilities if needed.

First responders from surrounding towns and cities and from neighboring Oklahoma descended on the town, which is home to more than 8,000 people and about 115 miles northeast of Amarillo, just south of the Oklahoma line.

The Ochiltree County Sheriff’s Department said it would enforce a curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. Friday because of downed power lines and other dangers that might not be visible in the dark.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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