POWDERLY, Texas (HPD) — Tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Friday, killing at least one person and injuring two dozen others and leaving homes and buildings in ruins.
The tornadoes hit McCurtain County, Oklahoma, in the far southeastern corner of the state. Cody McDaniel, director of emergencies for the area, confirmed a death although he did not immediately offer more details.
In the small town of Idabel, the church, a health care center and a school were razed to the ground.
In the south and east of the town, the destruction was “total,” McCurtain County emergency coordinator Steven Carter told the Texarkana Gazette. People were still trapped Friday night, he added.
State authorities sent rescue teams and generators to the Idabel area, Gov. Kevin Stitt said.
“Praying for all Oklahomans affected by today’s tornadoes,” Stitt tweeted.
At least three other counties were affected by the storms, which caused flash flooding in some areas, said Keli Cain of the state’s office of emergency management.
The National Weather Service said tornadoes were also reported in Texas and Arkansas, and indicated the storm system was heading toward Louisiana.
In Texas, Lamar County authorities said at least 50 homes were damaged or vandalized and 10 people were treated in hospitals, including two with a critical prognosis. At the moment no deaths have been reported.
Judge Brandon Bell, the county’s top elected official, issued a disaster declaration for the site, a step toward federal aid and funding. The statement mentions that at least two dozen people were injured in the region.
One hard-hit community was Powderly, about 45 miles (72 km) west of Idabel and 120 miles (193 km) northeast of Dallas. Both Powderly and Idabel are close to the Texas-Oklahoma border.
According to the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Department, the tornado touched down shortly after 4 p.m. and moved north-northeast through the communities of Hopewell, Caviness, Beaver Creek and Powderly.
Randi Johnson, chief of the Powderly Volunteer Fire Department, told The Paris News that she was not aware of any deaths but was aware of injuries.
“It’s going to take a long time to clean this up, but the community came together,” Johnson said. “It really hurts to watch.”
The churches opened their doors to shelter people who suffered damage to their homes.