One dead and dozens injured as tornado hits Texas and Oklahoma

POWDERLEY, Texas – Tornadoes tore through parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Friday, killing at least one person, injuring dozens of others and leaving scores of homes and buildings in ruins.

A tornado hit McCurtain County, Oklahoma, in the southeast corner of the state. Cody McDaniel, the county’s emergency manager, confirmed one death but did not immediately provide details.

The small town of Idabel saw its church, medical center and school torn apart.

“There was total destruction in the south and east of Idabel,” Stephen Carter, emergency management coordinator for McCurtain County. told the Texarkana Gazette.

Carter told the newspaper that people were still trapped late Friday.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said search and rescue teams and generators have been dispatched to the Idabel area.

“Praying for Oklahomans affected by today’s tornadoes,” Stitt tweeted.

Kelly Cain of the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management said at least three other counties were also affected by storms, with flash flooding in some areas.

The National Weather Service said tornadoes were also reported in Texas and Arkansas, and a storm was headed for Louisiana.

In Texas, authorities in Lamar County said at least 50 homes were damaged or destroyed and 10 people were treated at a hospital, including two with critical injuries. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

Judge Brandon Bell, the county’s top elected official, declared a disaster for the area, a step toward getting federal aid and funding. Bell’s statement said at least two dozen people were injured across the county.

One community hard hit was Powderly, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Idabel and about 120 miles (193 kilometers) northeast of Dallas. Both Powderly and Idabel are near the Texas-Oklahoma border.

The Lamar County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management said the tornado touched down just after 4 p.m. and moved north-northeast through the communities of Hopewell, Kynes, Beaver Creek and Powderly.

Randy Johnson, Chief of the Powderly Volunteer Fire Department, said The Paris News newspaper that he did not know that anyone had been killed, but that he knew of injuries.

“It’s going to take a long time to clean this up, but the community has come together,” Johnson said. “It’s really heartbreaking to see.”

Churches opened their doors to serve as shelters for those whose homes were affected.

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