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Tornado strikes tiny Texas town, killing at least four, amid cross-country storms

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(NEW YORK) — At least four people were killed and 10 others were injured when a tornado tore through a tiny town in northern Texas on Wednesday night, officials said.


Matador, some 80 miles northeast of Lubbock, and its less than 600 residents were under a tornado warning as a powerful storm brought gusty winds and softball-sized hail to the Rolling Plains area after 8 p.m. CT. Local and state authorities reported seeing at least one tornado that touched down in Matador that night, though the National Weather Service will investigate.

The Lubbock Fire Rescue, which dispatched units to Matador, said in a statement early Thursday that there were at least four confirmed fatalities and 10 injuries in Matador after the “unprecedented tornado.”

“Agencies from across the South Plains have assisted with search and rescue efforts,” the Lubbock Fire Rescue added. “State resources have arrived to Matador to begin post-disaster operations including damage assessment and final recovery efforts.”

Brendan Moore, the senior water superintendent for Matador and a volunteer firefighter, told ABC News late Wednesday that approximately 15 structures were destroyed and the entire west side was “wiped out,” including the town’s only cafe and convenience stores. There was also no power or water in the town at the time. Officials were working in complete darkness to locate and identify any casualties, he said.

Meanwhile, several hundred miles southeast of Matador, a freight train derailed near Corsicana in Texas’ Navarro County on Wednesday evening as wind gusts got up to 80 miles per hour.

“No one was hurt and nothing was spilled,” the train’s operator, Union Pacific, said in a statement. “The cause is under investigation, but initial reports indicate weather was a factor.”

Parts of Texas had winds as high as 109 mph on Wednesday. Gusts of up to 97 mph were reported at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Texas was not the only U.S. state to be hit with severe weather on Wednesday. There were a total of 11 reported tornadoes across four states — Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas, according to the National Weather Service. Hundreds of thousands of customers were without power across the South amid dangerous storms and sweltering heat, according to data collected by PowerOutage.us.

A 62-year-old woman died due to the heat in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, on Wednesday. The area was without power for an extended period of time, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

Baseball-sized hail stuck and injured dozens of concertgoers at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, on Wednesday night. A total of 80 to 90 people were treated on scene while seven were transported to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, including cuts and broken bones, according to the West Metro Fire Rescue.

ABC News’ Laryssa Demkiw, Max Golembo, Melissa Griffin, Marilyn Heck, Amanda Morris and Ashley Riegle contributed to this report.

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