Six Dead After Outbreak of 16 Tornadoes

Six killed in EF-4 tornado

Communities in North Texas are beginning the process of recovery after an outbreak of 16 tornadoes killed 6 people, injured up to 100 people, and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes.

As the sun set Thursday, the National Weather Service damage surveys said as many as 16 tornadoes had slammed through the area, killing two women and four men in the Hood County town of Granbury.

Hood County sheriffs said all the missing or unaccounted for people had be found by 11:15 a.m.

The violent spring storm scattered bodies and threw trailers onto cars while leaving many, possibly hundreds, homeless in Granbury and Cleburne after an untold number of houses were reduced to nothing more than a concrete slab and a pile of rubble.

The National Weather Service said Thursday that preliminary damage estimates indicated an EF-4 tornado with wind speeds between 166 mph 200 mph touched down in Granbury and an EF-3 tornado with wind speeds between 136 mph and 165 mph later touched down in Cleburne.

The highest rating on the EF scale is an EF-5, which has wind speeds in excess of 200 mph.

Granbury's Rancho Brazos Estates neighborhood, an area constructed in recent years by Habitat for Humanity volunteers, was hit the hardest and is where the six fatalities and a vast majority of the injuries occurred.

"Some were found in houses. Some were found around houses," Deeds said. "There was a report that two of these people that they found were not even near their homes, so we're going to have to search the area out there."

Officials said Thursday that Glenda Whitehead, Bob Whitehead, Tommy Martin, Jose Tovar Alvarez, Marjari Davis and Leo Stefanski were killed in the storm.

Ten patients injured in the Granbury storms were still in the hospital as of 4:30 a.m. Friday, including two victims in serious condition at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.

One of the Habitat for Humanity homes that was destroyed was supposed to be dedicated to a family on Saturday.

Both the DeCordova Ranch and Rancho Brazos neighborhoods, where 97 of the 110 homes in the neighborhood are damaged or destroyed, remain sealed off to the public. Deeds said residents attempting to salvage personal belongings would only be allowed back in the neighborhoods once hazards such as downed power lines and compromised gas lines are repaired or removed.

Cleburne Tornado Wrecks Homes

In Cleburne, east of Granbury, storm spotters told the NWS a tornado that was estimated to be a mile wide tore through the town Wednesday night.

NWS officials later determined the Cleburne tornado to be an EF-3 with winds up to 165 mph.

Mayor Scott Cain said early Thursday that no one was killed or seriously hurt in Cleburne, although nine people suffered minor injuries. He estimated that dozens of homes were damaged and declared the area a local disaster. The NWS said the most significant damage occurred east of Lake Cleburne.

The tornado ripped through several brick homes on Lakeshore Drive, including the childhood home of Geraldine Williams.

“It’s devastating. It’s been ravaged,” Williams said while sifting through the debris.

Williams walked NBC 5 through what’s left of the house. The roof on the second floor is gone. Carpet was ripped off the floor. Mattresses were stripped of their sheets and thrown hundreds of feet through the roof and into the back yard.

“This is my bedroom,” she says, pointing to a roofless room. The bed is overturned. The wallpaper is peeled off. The support beams for the ceiling are still there.

“The fan is still there, but everything else is ravaged,” she said.

Downstairs didn’t fare any better. The living room ceiling was ripped down. The furniture that isn’t damaged is soaked with water. A painting of a flower is still mounted on the wall – the storm didn’t move it an inch.

“It's just weird, it's so indiscriminate,” Williams says pointing to the picture. “Look, that picture is hanging. Everything in the china cabinet was intact, but then look at my dad's study, it just went ‘poof’.”

Ennis Tornado Damages Downtown

Homes and business in Ennis were damaged by an EF-1 tornado that caused debris to be spread over an 80-block area.

The twister damaged 17 homes and 55 businesses and knocked out the power to about 3,000 residents Wednesday. As of 4 a.m., around 130 residents were still without power.

Debris was cleared in 10 blocks of downtown Ennis on Thursday, but about 80 square blocks within the strike area remain to be cleared of debris as of 7 a.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross has opened two shelters at local Granbury churches where they are providing services to residents. Additionally, victims of the storm can receive assistance from the Red Cross by calling 866-505-4801.

Across North Texas, utility companies said about 20,000 homes and businesses were without power early Thursday morning due to the storms. By mid-morning, that number had dropped to about 15,000 customers.

By early Friday morning, the bulk of power outages were in Johnson County, according to an automated Oncor status system. Power is expected to be restored by 6 p.m. Friday to the hardest hit areas in Johnson County.

The number of confirmed tornadoes may change in the coming days as the NWS continues their investigation.

NBC 5's Ben Russell, Frank Heinz, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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