A powerful storm hit the north Texas city of Matador Wednesday night, killing at least three people, damaging a dozen buildings and prompting searches for people who may have been injured or trapped by the debris, authorities said.
Matador, which has about 600 residents, is about 290 miles northwest of Dallas and was under a tornado warning when the storm passed through the area around 8 p.m., said William Iwasko, a meteorologist with National Weather. Service in Lubbock, about 80 miles away. He said the damage to Matador suggested there was « most likely » a tornado there, but that hadn’t been confirmed early Thursday morning.
Matador Mayor Pat Smith, who also provides emergency medical services to the city, said in a brief telephone interview on Wednesday that at least three people were killed and others may have been injured. He added that there was « a lot of damage ».
At the western end of Matador, several businesses and homes were destroyed, Smith said, adding that rescuers pulled residents out of the collapsed homes.
« It’s really, really bad, » Mr. Smith said as emergency crews could be heard shouting directions in the background.
Firefighters in Lubbock he said he was watching in search and rescue operations in Matador. Footage of Matador posted on Twitter by Jacob Rileya meteorologist with Lubbock television station KLBK, showed emergency personnel moving through a landscape dotted with leveled structures.
Mr. Smith said electricity was also present in Matador, the Motley County seat. More than 100,000 people were without power across Texas early Thursday morning, according to the poweroutage.us site. This included most of the residents of Motley and two other counties.
Severe weather hit Matador Wednesday night as thunderstorms and hail hit parts of Texas and Colorado. In Morrison, Colorado, near Denver, an outdoor concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater was postponed and then postponed due to a hailstorm.
Footage showed concert-goers fleeing for cover as rivulets of ice and water poured down the stairways and lightning flashed across the sky. Dozens of people were injured and at least seven were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, ABC Denver affiliate7 reported.
Nearly four million people in Colorado were still down a strong storm starting around 2:00 am local time. The National Weather Service said in a forecast that wet weather, including thunderstorms and possible flash flooding, was forecast for the next few days across much of the central United States.
The storm hit Matador at the end of a day in which a heat dome had stalled over much of Texas and Oklahoma. Texas officials have issued an excessive heat warning for the Dallas-Fort Worth region. They also called on residents in other parts of the state to conserve electricity, amid concerns that several days of triple-digit temperatures could strain the power grid.
Last week, a tornado hit the Texas city of Perryton where three people were killed and dozens of mobile homes were destroyed. That tornado was part of a fierce series of storms that tore through the South.
Scientists say tornadoes appear to have occurred in larger « clusters » in recent years, and the area of the country known as Tornado Alley, where most tornadoes occur, appears to be moving east.