Tornadoes kill three in Texas

The Associated Press

WESTMINSTER, Texas – Tornadoes swept through two North Texas towns after dark, reducing houses to bare concrete slabs in a path of destruction that left three people dead and 10 injured, officials said Wednesday.

An elderly couple were found dead in a destroyed home in the tiny town of Westminster, about 45 miles northeast of Dallas. A teenager was found dead in another location, Collin County spokeswoman Lee Hornsby said.

“It sounded like a regular thunderstorm, then it went crazy,” said Cathy Dotson, who huddled on the floor with her 13- and 10-year-old grandchildren when the tornado hit Tuesday night. “I could actually feel my house move. I looked outside my window, and all I could see was gray.”

About a quarter-mile down the street from Dotson’s house, another couple left a sheet of paper held down by two rocks that read “Harry and Mary Donaho are fine” and gave their daughter’s phone number.

Jeri Tishmack, of nearby Van Alstyne, said she stayed on the phone with her parents throughout the storm as they crouched in the living room between a sofa and a small table.

“It sounded terrifying,” Tishmack said. “All I heard was a really high-pitched sound.”

At least six homes were destroyed in Westminster. Hornsby said a tornado also hit near the town of Anna, a community of 6,500 residents a few miles west of Westminster.

Another tornado in the Texas Panhandle town of Childress knocked down a wall at the local high school, and broken power lines sparked treetop fires, officials said. Gas lines were broken and downed trees blocked roads, but there were no reports of injuries.

In southeast Oklahoma, three tornadoes touched down and the region was pelted with hail, but no severe damage or injuries were immediately reported, officials said. The National Weather Service received reports of a tornado near Olney in Coal County and two others near Stringtown.

Storms also raked Arkansas early Wednesday, toppling trees, damaging roofs and downing power lines. A FedEx truck was blown into the median of Interstate 530 near Redfield, Ark., and at Bentonville, the wind speed hit 62 mph.