Tornadoes, hail and hurricane-force winds tear through west Texas, killing 4 people in small town

A rare combination of severe storms, including hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, and softball-sized hail, caused significant damage and killed at least four people in the town of Matador, Texas, on Thursday, according to a local meteorologist.

Officials from the north of the city said that strong storms swept across Texas, causing damage and producing strong winds that came from the Panhandle to Houston.

Gov. Greg Abbott, on Thursday, included six counties within the vicinity in a declaration of a calamity. In light of the extreme climatic conditions, the proclamation was initially released on June 16 and subsequently modified on three occasions. As per his statement, state officials will have the capacity to promptly address the distressed communities.

Colorado and Texas received tornado warnings, while parts of Texas and Oklahoma were issued severe thunderstorm warnings on Thursday afternoon. These warnings included the possibility of large hail, with hailstones measuring up to 7.6 centimeters (3 inches) in diameter. Alex Ferguson, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service, mentioned that these warnings could continue into the night, as storms were expected to develop again on Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday around 8 p.M., A supercell developed near Amarillo, striking the small town of Matador before reaching Lubbock. Matt Ziebell, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service, described the occurrence as extremely uncommon, with hurricane-force winds and hail the size of softballs occurring simultaneously.

“Everybody is acquainted with everyone,” stated Brandon Moore, the water superintendent of Matador and a volunteer firefighter. This town experienced the demolition of businesses and homes along the western side of Matador, specifically along a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) stretch where the damage was concentrated.

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Moore stated, “The matador came straight through and switched directions, changing everything within a five-minute timeframe. We were supposed to move east. It was probably about two minutes before we received a warning to gather together for safety.” Moore continued, “They managed to get everyone out safely, and we were able to rescue several people. However, there are still a few individuals who were unable to make it out of the house.”

He mentioned that the city is receiving a great deal of assistance from individuals coming from beyond the local area.

Moore stated, “which is beneficial,” assisting in providing help is a universal goal for everyone in the world. “We are currently attempting to clean up the mess and move forward from there.”

During the storm, Hurricane Ike in 2008 surpassed the previous record of a wind gust of 97 mph (156 kph) reported by the weather service, with a record of 82 mph (132 kph) at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Ziebell mentioned that Jayton encountered winds of 109 mph (175 kph) and hail wider than 4 inches (10.2 centimeters).

Wind damage occurred north of the city near Houston, resulting in knocked down fences, power lines, and downed trees.

As of early Thursday afternoon, the team had not disclosed its findings, as per meteorologist Robert Barritt in Lubbock. However, the weather service dispatched crews to assess the destruction in west Texas on Thursday and ascertain the intensity of the tornadoes.

According to Ziebell, Wednesday “was certainly an uncommon occurrence of top-notch wind shear and storms characterized by extreme instability.”

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In Matador, a municipality of approximately 570 individuals located roughly 70 miles (112 kilometers) northeast of Lubbock in Motley County, the most severe destruction seemed to be occurring. Structures were leveled, residences were impacted, and electrical cables were severed in two. The partitions of a dining establishment were completely demolished, yet the seating areas remained intact, creating a stunning spectacle according to Derek Delgado, a representative from Lubbock Fire Rescue.

Delgado stated over the phone, “On one side, you would observe a general merchandise store that has been completely leveled, while on the opposite side of the street, there is a house that remains upright and the vehicles have not even budged from the driveway.”

Power outages were prevalent throughout the thinly populated western Texas area, as reported by PowerOutage.Us. The Matador and Jayton regions experienced power loss, affecting more than 900 customers. It is worth noting that the combined population of these areas is less than 2,000 individuals.

A cooling facility was established in Matador with temperatures expected to reach around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).

The advisory issued on Thursday cautioned that the heat index might soar to 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius). Approximately twenty cooling centers were established due to the fact that nearly 90,000 clients were still without electricity in Harris County, encompassing Houston.

An outbreak of tornadoes on Wednesday left more than 100 people injured and three people dead in Perryton, a northern town in the Texas Panhandle, after six days.

On Thursday, while work crews were still repairing power lines that were damaged by storms over the weekend, around 75,000 customers in Oklahoma and Louisiana were still without electricity.

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As per West Metro Fire Rescue, approximately 90 individuals were provided medical assistance at the amphitheater. None of the individuals transported to medical facilities had injuries that posed a threat to their lives, and seven individuals were admitted to hospitals, as reported by KMGH-TV. Attendees of the concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, close to Denver, experienced a severe hailstorm on Wednesday night.

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