Tornadoes swept the Dallas area leaving at least eight people dead in the latest freakish winter weather event that on Sunday also could include heavy snow and massive flooding. The Texas tornadoes that touched down after dark Saturday followed days of tumultuous weather in the Southeast including unusual winter tornadoes that left 18 people dead there over the Christmas holiday. A National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth said several tornadoes touched down in the Dallas area, although the full extent of damage would not be known until daylight Sunday. The storm blew the roofs off homes and left vehicles mangled or upside down, power lines down, natural gas lines burst, trees toppled, and debris strewn across neighborhoods. The damage stretched over about a 40-mile-long area around Dallas.
The Red Cross said it was setting up shelters for people whose homes were damaged by the storm. "I think everyone understands now the gravity of what happened," says a rep for American Red Cross of North Texas. On the other side of Texas, a snowstorm accompanied by plunging temperatures was expected to leave up to 16 inches in West Texas and much of New Mexico through Sunday evening. In the Southeast, two more deaths linked to weather were reported Saturday in Mississippi, bringing that state's death toll from severe weather over Christmas to 10. Late Saturday, one death was reported in Alabama. Severe storms are forecast through Monday as a strong cold front pushes through. Tornadoes are possible. (Read more severe weather stories.)