Multiple tornadoes kill at least four in Texas

News 30 Apr 2017

Multiple tornadoes ripped through a town in eastern Texas on Saturday evening, killing at least four people and injuring dozens of others, according to authorities, who warned the number of casualties could rise.

Three tornadoes were confirmed by the U.S. National Weather Service in Canton, a city about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Dallas.

"We have at least four fatalities," Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett said at a news conference on Sunday. "It is a very fluid situation and that could change later today." Forty nine people had been treated for injuries, she said.

Earlier local media reports said five people had died, citing the Canton fire department.

Pictures and video posted online showed cars flipped over and two-story houses in the area all but destroyed.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed a search and rescue team to the area.

Downpours that began on Friday were so intense the ground was unable to absorb the rainfall, making flooding highly likely, said meteorologist Kenneth James of the Weather Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service.

More than six inches of rain fell in some areas, flooding roads and prompting evacuations, meteorologists said.

The governors of Missouri and Oklahoma declared states of emergency due to flooding.

In the St. Louis area, severe thunderstorms are forecast through Sunday. Some people were told to evacuate and 33 rescues were conducted, mostly in the state's central and southwestern regions, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said.

Parts of Indiana received up to 8 inches (20 cm) of rain while areas in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas have been drenched with up to 4 inches (10 cm), James said.

Heavy rainfall in the Midwest was expected to continue on Sunday, along with wind gusts of 60 miles (95 km) per hour.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Andrew Hay)

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