One person is dead and at least 10 people have been hospitalized after a tornado touched down in Texas overnight, officials said Saturday morning.
The EF1 tornado touched down in Laguna Heights, a community on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico about 180 miles from the city of Corpus Christi, at around 4 a.m. local time. It caused “extensive damage,” the neighboring town Port Isabel wrote on social media.
The tornado “popped up out of nowhere,” said Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr at a news conference on Saturday afternoon. There was no warning, the judge said, “Mother nature can be very difficult at times.”
Laguna Heights is located between Port Isabel and Laguna Vista. The highway connecting the three communities was damaged, according to officials, and is currently blocked to all traffic.
In addition to the highway, “multiple structures sustained extensive damage,” officials said. Power lines have also been damaged, resulting in outages.
Search and rescue efforts for other injuries or fatalities remain ongoing, officials said. A triage center has been set up by the Valley Regional Medical Center for “walking wounded.”
Valley Baptist, Harlingen Medical Center and Valley Regional took in 11 patients, one of whom was a fatality.
A shelter has been opened at the Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center, overseen by the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and local emergency management officials.
Cameron County Sheriff Eric Garza said at the news conference that there will be “extra patrols” in the area and additional service to ensure the safety of the residents. The judge said the county is planning on implementing a curfew for the area.
Crews from multiple agencies are involved in the cleanup effort, officials said.