May 9, 2015 10:37 PM
The Latest on severe weather: Texas homes torn 'into pieces'
The Associated Press
A county judge in a rural area of North Texas says a deadly tornado has caused "five miles of destruction" as it tore through farmland.
Eastland County Judge Rex Fields says several homes were destroyed and many others were damaged by the storm, which killed at least one person Saturday near the town of Cisco. He says authorities believe there are some other injuries.
Fields says the tornado has taken the homes "into pieces and blown them out into pastures."
The fire chief in the North Texas town of Cisco says one person has been killed after a tornado swept through the area.
Chief Walter Fairbanks had no other details early Saturday evening. Damage was reported after the tornado hit Saturday afternoon in Eastland County, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth.
An official in North Texas says homes have been destroyed and some people are unaccounted for after a tornado struck a rural farming and ranching area.
Eastland County Judge Rex Fields says there was a "considerable amount of damage" in the county, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth. He says damage assessment was difficult Saturday because of heavy rains.
He can't immediately confirm if there are any injuries or fatalities.
Fields describes the storm-damaged area as rural farms and ranches, with homes on small acreage. He says the tornado did not strike any heavily populated area.
A second tornado has touched down in North Texas, this one north of Wichita Falls.
A police dispatcher in Burkburnett, who decline to give her name due to department policy, says that the tornado touched down north of town. Burkburnett is about 15 miles north of Wichita Falls.
It was too early to determine the extent of damage or whether there were any injuries.
She says the town of Burkburnett set off its tornado siren at 5:55 p.m.
The National Weather Service says a tornado has touched down in North Texas.
Weather Service spotters reported the twister on the ground late Saturday afternoon near Cisco, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth. The storm containing the tornado was accompanied by hail as large as oranges.
Josh Wasson, with the Cisco Fire Department, says at least one home has been damaged but isn't immediately certain of the extent of the damage.
Forecasters have boosted the possibility of tornadoes for North Texas as a tornado watch was issued into Saturday evening for nearly 50 counties, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The watch remained in effect until 9 p.m.
The National Weather Service has upgraded the risk of tornadoes for parts of North Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, the area is now considered to be at moderate risk of tornadoes Saturday evening. Overall, nearly 50 Texas counties are under a tornado watch, and at least one tornado warning had been reported by late afternoon.
A large swath of the nation's midsection was facing severe weather Saturday, with tornado watches issued for much of Oklahoma, eastern Colorado and western Kansas.
A tornado watch has been issued for nearly 50 Texas counties as severe weather threatens some of the state's largest cities.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch until 9 p.m. CDT Saturday. The coverage area includes Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Wichita Falls, Abilene, Sherman and Denison.
North Texas has had several days of bad weather. Tornadoes touched down in Wise, Denton and Cooke counties late Thursday. Those areas are also part of Saturday's tornado watch grid.
Crews worked to reopen a North Texas train line after flooding early Friday washed away the tracks and 17 cars of a freight train derailed.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for much of Oklahoma as storms dump hail and heavy rain on the state.
National Weather Service forecaster Daryl Williams says nickel- to quarter-sized hail was reported Saturday near Lawton and Anadarko in southwestern Oklahoma.
One to two inches of rain has fallen across southeastern Oklahoma since midnight, while rainfall totals are up to an inch in northwestern Oklahoma.
Williams says the storms will continue into Saturday night, but that the tornado threat will likely end about 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.
The weather service has issued a flash flood warning until 4:30 p.m. for central Oklahoma and until 4:15 p.m. in southeastern Oklahoma.
Tornado watches were also issued in eastern Colorado, western Kansas and nearly 50 counties in Texas.
As the threat of more storms in North Texas loomed, crews are working to reopen a rail line after flooding washed away the tracks.
The washout caused four engines and 13 cars to derail on Friday near Valley View, about 50 miles northwest of Dallas; four crew members had minor injuries.
BNSF Railway spokesman Joe Faust said Saturday that bad weather could hamper efforts to replace the tracks, but that they could reopen by Saturday night. Amtrak passenger trains were being rerouted.
Emergency officials in Shawnee are closely watching a lake that's at risk of breaching its dam and flooding dozens of homes.
Emergency Management Director Donald Lynch said Saturday that water is being pumped from the lake in the Granada Estates neighborhood, but that more rain is forecast and could breach the dam.
The Oklahoma Climatological Survey recorded 2.95 inches of rain in Shawnee since Friday morning.
"We're definitely still at risk and continuing to monitor the situation for degradation of the dam," Lynch said.
Lynch says about 25 homes would be in direct danger if the dam is breached.
A Red Cross shelter is open at First Baptist Church in Shawnee, but most residents have remained in their homes.