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Three dead, dozens more injured after tornado hits Texas Panhandle

Debris covers a residential area in Perryton, Texas, Thursday, after a tornado struck the town.
David Erickson
/
The Associated Press
Debris covers a residential area in Perryton, Texas, Thursday, after a tornado struck the town.

At least three people are dead and several dozen injured after a tornado struck the town of Perryton late Thursday afternoon.

The fatalities were confirmed by Perryton Fire Chief Paul Dutcher, NBC reported. The outlet also reported that more than 50 people were treated at a local hospital and released but several patients were transferred to other nearby hospitals.

Perryton is in Ochiltree County, just south of the Texas-Oklahoma border and about 115 miles northeast of Amarillo. Its population is about 8,200, according to the latest U.S. Census estimate.

Drone footage taken by the Weather Channel shows dozens of houses and mobile homes reduced to little more than piles of rubble. Several cars and SUVs are shown partially buried under the debris and several businesses also sustained severe damage.

In a statement late Thursday Gov. Greg Abbott said he directed the state’s Division of Emergency Management to deploy resources to the area in the storm’s aftermath to “meet urgent life-safety needs.” The deployments include staff from the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and search-and-rescue teams from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.

“I encourage all Texans to heed the guidance of state and local officials and to take all necessary precautions to protect yourselves and your loved ones,” Abbott said. “We remain ready to quickly provide any additional resources needed over the course of this severe weather event.”

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said his agency is also monitoring the situation and will do whatever it can to assist in the recovery efforts.

The Amarillo division of the National Weather Service said in a tweet Friday it was deploying a crew to assess the extent of the damage and the results would be conveyed as soon as possible.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Perryton's proximity to Midland. The story has been updated.

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Got a tip? Email Julián Aguilar at jaguilar@kera.org.You can follow Julián on Twitter @nachoaguilar.

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Julián Aguilar