Tornado entre Mexico e Texas


5 Dez 2006
Tornado on Texas-Mexico border kill 10

EAGLE PASS, Texas (AP) -- Ricardo Tijerina saw the sky darken and expected a typical spring storm to roll in. "I saw some clouds, but I never imagined it was going to be that bad," said Tijerina, who suddenly found himself riding out a tornado Tuesday night with his six children huddled under beds.

At least 10 people were killed in both this community and Piedras Negras, a town on the other side of the Mexican border.

The storm killed two other people in Louisiana and Arkansas.

The National Weather Service has determined two tornadoes truck the area, one in Eagle Pass and one in Piedras Negras. The Eagle Pass tornado has been rated an EF3 tornado, meaning its top winds ranged 136-165 mph. The weather service says winds of 80-100 mph hit the area before the tornadoes hit.

Neither Eagle Pass nor Piedras Negras had a siren warning system like those that helped people evacuate ahead of the same storm when it flooded streets and peeled roofs off homes in North Texas. No injuries were reported there.

After the tornado passed, neighbors poured into Eagle Pass' darkened streets, checking for anyone who needed help, said Eglanteina Alamillo, 20. "You could hear everyone was walking around and helping people get out of the trailers," she said.

The twisters cut a 4-square-mile swath through the rural community southeast of this city of 26,000 about 150 miles southwest of San Antonio. Two empty elementary schools, a church, business and homes were destroyed, some cut open like dollhouses.

Maverick County Judge Jose Aranda said all residents on the Texas side of the border were accounted for, but that 50 to 200 families were left homeless.

A family of five -- a girl, her parents and two other relatives -- was killed in Eagle Pass when the winds blew their mobile home across the street and into Rosita Valley Elementary School.

"It was a whole family, and they were all together, probably like they were huddling," said police Officer Ezekiel Navjas, who arrived Tuesday night just as crews were pulling from the wreckage the body of the girl, believed to be about 5 years old.

Gov. Rick Perry, who arrived for a tour Wednesday, said he was pleased with officials' response. The state has asked the federal government for quick assistance and a disaster declaration, which would entitle it to federal aid.

"It is stunning, the devastation," he said.

Across the Rio Grande, three people were killed and 300 homes were damaged in Piedras Negras. About 1,000 people sought refuge in shelters.

The toll in Texas also included one person found in a house, and another died after being taken to a San Antonio hospital, authorities said. More than 80 others were injured, and at least four remained in critical condition Wednesday.

Lightning was blamed for a death Wednesday as the huge weather system plowed through the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. The bolt started a fire near Shreveport, La., that killed a 101-year-old man, authorities and the man's family said.

A 12th person died in Arkansas when high winds swamped a boat on a lake, officials said.

The sprawling front also spun off tornadoes Tuesday in Oklahoma and Colorado, caused flooding in Iowa and Nebraska and piled snow more than a foot deep in the Rockies.