Gov. Greg Abbott in East Texas after tornadoes devastate area

As emergency crews continue rescue and recovery efforts, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott surveyed areas ravaged by a series of tornadoes in Van Zandt County, which is about 60 miles east of the Dallas metro area. 

Abbott said more than 5,000 buildings were impacted by tornadoes whose path could have traveled up to 50 miles. The National Weather Service confirms at least four tornadoes struck Eustace, Caney City and Canton in Northeast Texas. Widespread damage has been reported across a large area of the county. Damage has also been reported near Emory, Texas.  



At least 4 people have been killed and nearly 50 people were sent to the hospital for storm-related injuries. Two people have been reported missing. 

A dusk to dawn curfew will take place Sunday for areas most affected by the tornadoes. About 14,000 residents remain without power, but officials say power should be restored by midnight Sunday. 

Earlier, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted Texas Task Force 2 has been sent to assist in Canton and Van Zandt, County. Dallas Fire-Rescue sent 32 members and four dogs to help with the rescue. Rowlett Police and Fire Rescue units were en route to assist in the Canton area.



Local officials have issued a disaster declaration for Van Zandt County. Canton Mayor Lou Ann Gullett Everett said recovery and rescue crews continue to go door-to-door following a hasty search Saturday night, which was hampered by extreme weather conditions. 

Mayor Everett stressed conditions on the ground are too dangerous at this time for volunteers, but they will be needed once the situation is stabilized.

A triage center has been set up at Canton High School where many of the injured were transported to local hospitals. Residents are asked to conserve water as electricity is out.

Mayor Everett added residents and visitors should avoid First Monday Trade Days, while the cleanup and search continues. 

Displacement centers have been set up to assist residents who have been impacted.  The Red Cross is also on the scene and has set up shelters in the following locations:

  • First Methodist Church Life Center, 600 S. Buffalo, Canton, Texas
  • Emory City Center, 735 N. Texas St., Emory, Texas

A car dealership at FM 17 and I-20 sustained significant damage.  Ernestine Cook rushed to check on her son who works at the dealership.  "I wanted to make sure he wasn't here," she said.  "I'm just devastated.  Thank God they weren't here."

Anyone needing assistance should contact the Red Cross at 866-505-4801.

 



Footage from HD Chopper 8 showed homes damaged or destroyed across Van Zandt County. 

 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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