Hundreds of thousands of people are waking up without power Monday as a deadly storm system moves into the Northeast. Over the weekend, the same system decimated communities in the South. At least 10 tornadoes damaged or destroyed more than 100 homes in Mississippi, and the severe weather is blamed for at least eight deaths – including three in Texas.
The National Weather Service said a powerful EF-3 tornado touched down in Alto, Texas, with winds topping 140 mph. It ripped buildings apart and easily threw cars hundreds of feet, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.
From the air, you can see how widespread the destruction is across southeastern Texas. A powerful twister cut through Franklin on Saturday, destroying more than 50 homes in just minutes.
“It happened so quick, I didn’t have time to get scared until it was over,” resident Roger Ann Gray said.
Police said at least half of Alto’s 1,200 residents are dealing with some type of damage from the storm, and 200 are displaced.
“We was in the closet. We heard a roarin’ like a train and next thing the wind and we were lifted a little bit and we started rockin’ and we moved over and we started praying,” one resident said.
Cecil Morgan and his family huddled together in the corner of their home while powerful winds peeled away the walls and roof.
“We just praying we are going to make it out,” Morgan said.
The youngest victims of this storm are two brothers: 3-year-old Jace Creel and 8-year-old Dilynn Creel were killed in Angelina County when a tree crushed their car.
Back in nearby Alto, another person was killed and around two dozen were injured at the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site when a tornado ripped apart the building during a Native American cultural event.
“It was really rough, you know, just trying to keep everybody calm and safe and… we’re really a great community and the Caddo Indians are fabulous people,” attendee Carolyn Con said.
J.L. Skinner has lived next to the Caddo site for nearly 35 years. The four homes on his property were all destroyed. He said he’ll rebuild.
“I ain’t going nowhere. This is home,” Skinner told Villarreal.
The Alto school district has canceled classes until all buildings are declared safe. More than 100,000 people were without power at the height of the storm across the country. The cleanup and recovery could be delayed by another round of severe weather, which is expected by Wednesday.
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