At least 43 dead after severe weather blasts through US

NewsBy Sunday World
Snow, floods and tornadoes have caused havoc
Snow, floods and tornadoes have caused havoc

A further 24 people have been killed and dozens were injured after tornadoes hit Texas and flooding swept through the Midwest.

The latest events follow several days of extreme weather across the US, ranging from heavy snow in New Mexico, west Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, to flooding in parts of the Plains and Midwest.

Days of extreme weather have led to 43 deaths overall - the 11 killed in Texas, plus five in Illinois, eight in Missouri and 19 in the south-east.

Dallas officials estimated as many as 1,450 homes had been damaged or destroyed in storms that the National Weather Service said produced nine tornadoes.

"This is a huge impact on our community, and we're all suffering," Garland Police Lt Pedro Barineau said. The north-east Dallas suburb has seen eight deaths, 15 injuries and about 600 properties damaged.

The weather service said an EF-4 tornado - which is the second-most powerful with winds up to more than 200 miles per hour - hit the community late on Saturday.

It struck near the intersection of Interstate 30 and George Bush Turnpike, which is a major route in the region.

At least three people who died were found in vehicles, said Lt Barineau, who also noted that some cars appeared to have been thrown from the road.

The destruction in Garland was so overwhelming that Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declared the city a disaster within mere minutes of viewing the effects first-hand.

Three other people died in Collin County, north-east of Dallas, according to sheriff's deputy Chris Havey, although the circumstances were not immediately clear.

Texas governor Greg Abbott made disaster declarations on Sunday for four counties - Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and Ellis - and warned that the number of victims could rise.

On the other side of the state, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in Amarillo strongly discouraged travel throughout the entire Texas Panhandle - a 26-county area covering nearly 26,000 square miles - because snow had made the roads impassable.