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Panhandle of Texas and Florida Impacted by Devastating Tornadoes

Panhandle of Texas and Florida Impacted by Devastating Tornadoes

Severe storms spawned tornadoes that swept through the Texas Panhandle and the Florida Panhandle on Thursday, leaving at least four dead and causing widespread destruction. In Perryton, Texas, a tornado struck on Thursday afternoon, killing three people and injuring many others. Rescue efforts continued into Friday morning, with emergency responders searching for a missing person amidst the debris. The tornado destroyed 150 to 200 homes in the community, with many storefronts in the downtown area totally wiped off and buildings collapsed or partially collapsed.

Perryton Fire Chief Paul Dutcher expressed hope for the community to rebuild, but his biggest concern is helping the families of those who were killed carry on. “It is such a tragedy,” Dutcher said. “All the stuff behind me, it can all be rebuilt, but those lives that we’ve lost is really the tragedy of everything.” In Florida, a tornado cut through Escambia County on Thursday night, killing one person and causing significant damage.

As clean-up efforts began in Perryton, authorities urged residents to remain at home if possible due to the severity of the destruction and the lack of power in many areas. The National Weather Service in Amarillo reported that the tornado hit the area shortly after 5pm on Thursday, and storm chaser Brian Emfinger reported that the twister caused significant destruction to a mobile home park.

Panhandle of Texas and Florida Impacted by Devastating Tornadoes

Ochiltree General Hospital treated 50 to 100 people for injuries ranging from minor to major trauma, including about 10 in critical condition. Patients suffered from a range of injuries, including head injuries, collapsed lungs, lacerations, and broken bones. The storm system then moved into Oklahoma, spawning several more suspected twisters and causing widespread power outages.

By Friday morning, about 475,000 customers were without electricity in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. The storm system had also caused power outages on Wednesday in the eastern part of Texas to Georgia. As cleanup efforts continue, residents are bracing for another hot weekend, with heat advisories in effect in Texas and other southern states. Temperatures are expected to reach towards 38 degrees, feeling as hot as 43 degrees.

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