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.
« Based on the damage, » he added, « there was most likely a tornado » in Matador, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet.
Matador Mayor Pat Smith, who also provides emergency medical services to the city, said in a brief telephone interview that at least three people were killed, others may be injured and 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. A live stream of the city from KWTV-DT, an Oklahoma City television station, appeared to show damaged buildings as high winds swayed phone lines and trees.
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 residents in Motley and two other counties.
The storm hit Matador on a day when 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.
Thunderstorms moved across Texas and Colorado Wednesday night, prompting the National Weather Service to issue warnings for possible hail and tornadoes. In Morrison, Colorado, near Denver, an outdoor concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater was postponed and then postponed because of the bad weather. The local media reported it dozens of people were injured when a hailstorm hit the venue.
Nearly four million people in Colorado were still down a strong storm early Thursday morning. 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.
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.
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.
Mike Ives contributed report.