At least one person was killed and nearly a dozen hospitalized after a tornado struck an unincorporated Gulf Coast community in Texas on Saturday, damaging numerous structures and taking down power lines, officials said.
A severe thunderstorm that spawned a tornado hit Laguna Heights, near South Padre Island and surrounding communities, such as Port Isabel, around 4 a.m.
The Port Isabel police chief, Robert Lopez, said 10 people were injured, with two of them in critical condition. The others had minor cuts and bruises.
Officials confirmed that multiple structures sustained “extensive damage.”
A highway was closed in the morning as crews cleared debris and downed power lines. Road closures were lifted in the afternoon, Chief Lopez said. About 35 people were in a shelter that was set up for emergency use, he added.
A spokesman at the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department said officials were still surveying the area for damage.
Angelica Soria, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Brownsville, Texas, said officials determined in a preliminary damage assessment that a tornado was on the ground for five minutes. The damage was consistent with a tornado with wind speeds between 86 to 110 miles per hour.
“The survey team is still going to go through the damage assessment,” Ms. Soria said. “I know it wasn’t a very large swath, but I don’t have the exact mileage yet.”
The storm comes after severe weather this week struck Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The region was pummeled with high winds and very large hail.