Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in Bosque, Clay, Denton, Eastland, Gaines, Montague and Van Zandt counties, authorizing further mobilization of state resources to assist impacted communities. Additional counties may be added to the declaration as the situation develops. The Governor’s declaration follows an elevated activation of the Texas State Operations Center (SOC) to enable rapid deployment of state resources announced on Friday, May 4th.
“Declaring a state of disaster in these counties will enable Texas to activate state resources to help affected communities as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Governor Abbott. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost their lives, their families and all of our affected communities. I want to thank the first responders who are working tirelessly to provide shelter, care and resources to impacted areas.”
According to The National Weather Service, an EF-3 tornado touched down just south of the city of Cisco in Eastland County, damaging homes, ranch land, and farm equipment for 10 and 1/2 miles with 140-145 MPH damaging winds. Only one fatality and one injury were reported with this tornado.
On May 10, storms continued their way across Texas, this time producing tornados in both Van and Denton, Texas. Damage from the EF-3 in Van includes homes, businuesses, school buildings, as well as extensive tree damage. The NWS reports two fatalities and 47 people were treated for injuries.
In Denton, the situation was less severe. The EF- 1 touched down for four minutes between 2:16 p.m. and 2:20 p.m., and traveled over five miles in that time. No fatalities or injuries have been reported from this tornado.
The NWS sent teams to Bosque and Hill counties to assess possible tornado damage in those areas, finding trees damaged and large limbs down around Meridian, Clifton, and Cranfills Gap. East of Lake Whitney, the survey teams found evidence of classic downbursts, with the winds reaching approximately 95 MPH.
As the rain is expected to continue across the Plains region and into the Piney Woods, officials are concerned with flooding, especially in areas that have already sustained damage, such as Van and Cisco.
The statement by Governor Abbott also includes these safety tips to keep in mind as the chance for thunderstorms continues into Wednesday for Texas:
- When severe storms threaten, the safest place to be is indoors.
- Avoid areas already flooded and avoid any fast-flowing water.
- Be extremely cautious of any water on roads or in creeks, streams, storm drains or other areas – never attempt to cross flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways and observe road barricades placed for your protection.
- Remember that dangerous waters can seem deceptively calm, and if you encounter flooding, move to higher ground.
- Monitor weather radios and news broadcasts for updated information on current and anticipated severe weather in your area.
- Keep in mind that flood dangers are even harder to recognize at night.
- Stay informed and heed warnings by local officials.