At least six people have been killed and dozens more injured as the deadliest tornadoes to hit the US this year ripped through a stretch of Texas.
Three twisters destroyed homes and uprooted trees in Granbury, near Dallas Fort-Worth yesterday evening. All six of the dead were found in the neighbourhood of Rancho Brazos, an area containing around 110 homes on the fringe of the town. Police said a "very big percentage" of the homes had been destroyed.
Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said the toll could rise as rescue workers combed through houses, hampered by darkness that kept the full extent of the devastation hidden.
"At this point... I've got 14 people that are unaccounted for," he told reporters.
The tornadoes were part of a series of severe thunderstorms hitting the region, with some residents reporting hailstones as large as grapefruits denting cars in the area.
Power lines were reported to be down and bullzoders were brought in to clear debris on the roads in order to get residents evacuated.
An ambulance service spokesman said about 100 people were injured in the Granbury twister, although there was no immediate estimate for the extend of property damage.
Homes had been searched multiple times by this morning and the area is currently being secured.
In Granbury,pastor Dean Porter of Lake Granbury Christian Temple told local news station WFAA that he saw "what looked like a circular formation" when looking out from his front porch, before heading back inside.
"Apparently what had happened from that point was that the tornado had formed over us, touched down on the opposite end of our property where there was a horse stable and some other buildings that were demolished. Just past that point there was a gas plant, I think there was a pipeline that had broke," he said.
"This particular night is not like anything that I've ever seen."
Officials said properties were also damaged in nearby Parker County, but no one was injured.
The country has seen several deadly tornadoes in recent years.
In March 2012, at least 39 people were killed in a chain of tornadoes that cut a swath of destruction from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico. The following month, at least six people died when a twister ripped through an Oklahoma town during a weekend outbreak of dozens of twisters across the Great Plains.
In May 2011, a massive tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, killing 161 people and damaging or destroying 7,500 homes.
- More about: