While residents in north Texas begin to recover from a deadly twister that tore apart the town of Granbury, one woman recounts riding out the tornado in the bathtub of her home. NBC's Jay Gray reports.
Survivors of the tornadoes that devastated two towns in Texas on Wednesday night described their terror as the violent storm tore apart their homes, killing six people and injuring dozens more.
The last of those believed to be missing have been accounted for in the hard-hit Hood County town of Granbury, where a cluster of more than 60 homes built by Habitat for Humanity were among the worst off.
As residents in Texas begin to clean up after devastating tornadoes ripped through the state Wednesday night, authorities are searching for several people who are still missing. The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel reports.
The Zapata family took refuge in the bathtub of their Granbury home as the twisters approached on Wednesday.
“I couldn’t stop screaming or crying,” Ana Zapata, 18, said of how she sheltered with her parents and two siblings under a pair of mattresses.
“Feeling the walls shake and the tub under you is feeling like it is going to lift up any time,” her father Paul Zapata told KXAS. “Thank God we’re here, we’re alive.”
Joseph Youngblood, 10, was playing outside of a friend’s house in Granbury when the sirens went off. The skies darkened ahead of what the weather service said was an EF-4 tornado, meaning it packed winds of between 160 and 200 miles per hour.
“We started hearing the tornado sirens go off and then we look up at the clouds and we see the tornado twisting, so we all rushed in the bathroom,” Youngblood said. “I just went and ducked somewhere. I didn’t even care. I was so scared.”
The boy took refuge with his friend’s family in their house’s bathroom, where his friend’s father struggled to hold the bathroom door closed against the powerful winds that were collapsing the house around them.
"[The tornado] was starting to get more power and then he was, like, barely hanging on because the tornado was about to suck him outside," Youngblood told KXAS.
The Rancho Brazos and DeCordova Ranch neighborhoods in Granbury remained off limits after 97 of the 110 area homes were damages or destroyed.
“Some were found in houses. Some were found around houses,” Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said of the people killed in the storm. “There was a report that two of these people that they found were not even near their homes, so we’re going to search the area out there.”
The dark funnels of as many as 16 tornadoes touched down in northern Texas on Wednesday evening, according to a preliminary report by the National Weather Service.
Ralph Lauer / EPA
A series of tornadoes ripped across northern Texas, killing six and injuring dozens more.
The less powerful EF-3 tornado struck the nearby town of Cleburne, sweeping away parts of several homes, including one belonging to the family of Geraldine Williams.
“It’s devastating. It’s been ravaged,” Williams said as she sifted debris. The roof of the house was torn clean off, and mattresses were sucked up through the ceiling and tossed down in the backyard.
“It’s just weird, it’s so indiscriminate,” Williams told KXAS. “Look, that picture is hanging. Everything in the china cabinet was intact, but then look at my dad’s study, it just went ‘poof.’”
All of the deceased were from the Rancho Brazos neighborhood, authorities have said, where the non-profit group Habitat for Humanity had constructed 61 homes.
The dead were identified on Thursday as Jose Tovas Alvarez, 34; Robert Whitehead, 60; Tommy Martin, 61; Marjari Davis, 82; Leo Stefanski, 83; and Glenda White, whose age was unknown.