VAN, Texas/LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - Emergency crews were cleaning up on Monday from tornadoes that killed at least four people and injured 50 others in Texas and Arkansas that were part of a twister series to hit central states overnight, flattening buildings and snapping power lines.
A husband and wife were killed near a trailer park in Van, Texas, about 70 miles (115 km) southeast of Dallas, a town of about 2,500 people where scores of homes were reduced to splinters. The National Weather Service said an EF3 tornado packing winds of around 140 mph (225 kph) hit the town.
Near the west Arkansas town of Nashville, a baby girl about 18 months old was pulled from the wreckage of a mobile home where her parents died in a tornado there. About 10 people were injured in the state.
“She barely had a scratch on her. It’s absolutely a miracle. The trailer was completely demolished,” Howard County coroner John Gray said
In Van, workers with search dogs have been going over the wreckage looking for three adults who are unaccounted for, raising the possibility the death toll will rise. Five people thought to be missing were found in evacuation shelters.
“This storm spun up real fast and the warning time was extremely limited,” Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen said.
After what was probably the strongest tornado to hit the town in more than 70 years, neighbors sought comfort in front of destroyed houses and residents packed up whatever belongings they could find as they walked to evacuation shelters.
Van resident Brandi Preston, her husband and two sons pushed a wheel barrel and collected debris from their yard. Rain-soaked pink insulation from nearby damaged houses littered the ground like soggy pieces of cotton candy.
“We were in our hallway and we were holding our hands praying. I know that’s the only reason we’re OK,” said Preston, 35.
Authorities said 43 people in Texas were taken by ambulance
to hospitals with injuries and several more arrived on their own.
“We will rebuild,” Van Zandt County Judge Don Kirkpatrick told reporters.
More severe weather was on tap for some central states on Monday. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for parts of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a press briefing that President Barack Obama is receiving updates on the storm situation.
Reporting and writing by Jon Herskovitz in Austin; Additional reporting by the Washington Bureau; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Eric Walsh