Texas City Devastated As Tornado Claims 3 Lives and Injures Dozens

A violent tornado devastated the small Texas hamlet of Matador on Wednesday evening, ki!!ing at least four people and wounding 10 others.

“The Town of Matador has experienced an unprecedented tornado, bringing damaging winds to the town,” Lubbock Fire Rescue tweeted. “There are four confirmed fatalities & ten total injuries. Seven of which were transported by EMS and three by personal vehicle.”

Matador Mayor Pat Smith told CBS News that the tornado demolished around 10 structures in the town of 570 people, which is located 70 miles northeast of Lubbock in Motley County, and that person was transporting bodies and excavating people out of the rubble.

The little community is one where “everybody knows everybody,” according to Brandon Moore, a volunteer firefighter, and Matador’s water manager, told the Associated Press.

The twister was one of several severe storms that hit regions of western and central Texas, bringing enormous hail, strong winds, and flash flooding.

Texas City Devastated As Tornado Claims 3 Lives and Injures Dozens

The wreckage “looks like EF4 damage to me,” according to David Payne, a meteorologist for local CBS affiliate KWTV. An EF4 tornado has the second-highest rating on a five-point scale for tornado severity, with winds reaching 200 mph.

The tornado was formally confirmed by the National Weather Service’s Lubbock office, which reported the news shortly after 8 p.m. on Wednesday. According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, soft-ball-sized hail fell from the skies in adjacent areas, including Jayton, with winds reaching 100 mph. There were also significant power disruptions in the area.

A supercell formed near Amarillo at 8 p.m. on Wednesday before the winds began, according to Matt Ziebell, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Lubbock.

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“It was definitely a rare combination of high-end wind shear and storms of extreme instability,” Zeibell said, adding that “it was definitely a rare combination of killer tornadoes, hurricane-force winds, and softball-sized hail.”

Police, fire, and EMS personnel from around the South Plains banded together to assist with search and rescue efforts. Simultaneously, state resources arrived on the spot to start post-disaster operations like damage assessment and final recovery efforts.

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“We wanted to make sure no one was passing through town; that was our concern,” stated Sgt. Johnny Bures of Public Safety. “That’s what we’re really double-checking for.”

Social media images and videos showed overturned vehicles, debris strewn across roadways, and numerous damaged or destroyed structures.

This was the second fatal tornado to hit Texas in less than a week. On June 15, three people were killed and many more were injured in Perryton, Texas, some 180 miles north of Matador, according to PEOPLE.

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