North Texas

State of Disaster Declared in Rowlett After Tornadoes

Todd Gottel, the mayor of Rowlett, issued a State of Disaster declaration after deadly storms tore through portions of North Texas Saturday.

The mayor writes the city's emergency management plan has been implemented and the state of disaster will continue for the next seven days.

Rowlett was one of the hardest hit areas in the deadly tornado outbreak.

Evanne Dalton huddled with her family when the twister struck.

"Oh my God the adrenaline was moving so fast we were just holding on to each other and just praying," she said.

Mike Landers said it happened in just seconds.

"It was, 'Boom.' And then you come out and you can see. I've got a damn kayak in my garage. I don't own one. And a hot tub by my truck. How does that happen?" Landers said.

Somehow he and his family walked away.

"The wind was blowing on the door, Landers said. “I was trying to hold it. It was kind of tough because you're supposed to ... I felt helpless. I wasn't protecting my family and that hurt."

Emergency crews from Dallas and other surrounding cities rushed to help.

At the Shradeville mobile home park, not much is left of 19 homes .

"All the homes are damaged, non-liveable,” said manager Sheila Lobdell. “There are seven totally gone. There's nothing left of them."

Only one person was slightly injured there, but search crews were looking for a few people who were missing.

"With the holidays, they could be with their families so hopefully that's the case," Lobdell said.

Rowlett police spokesman Detective Cruz Hernandez said several people were injured although the exact number is not known. Two families were barricaded in their homes, he said, late Saturday night.

"As of right now, we are still in the search and rescue mode. We still have some homes that have been demolished and not everyone in the homes has been accounted for," Hernandez said.

Residents were being kept out of part of east Rowlett and heavy equipment was brought in to move debris from homes where people may be trapped inside.

As of Monday evening, City Manager Brian Funderburk says 854 homes were impacted and the damage is as follows:

  • 220 Affected (very little damage)
  • 298 Minor (many missing shingles, broken windows and doors but otherwise habitable)
  • 188 Major (Structure is currently uninhabitable and extensive repair is required)
  • 148 homes have been totally destroyed.

Funderburk also said 43 businesses were impacted:

  • 38 Minor
  • 5 Major
  • 23 have currently ceased operations.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

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