Major Texas storm injures 26, demolishes homes

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A severe storm tore through Texas, injuring 26 people and causing major property damage in the city of Van, officials said Monday.

Homes were completely destroyed and trees as well as power lines were plowed over as high winds and heavy rains pounded the town in the eastern Van Zandt county on Sunday night.

"Approximately 26 patients have been identified and transported to area hospitals," Van Zandt Fire Marshal Chuck Allen told AFP in a statement.

He said that 30 percent of all property in the city was damaged.

Nearby police and emergency response crews were dispatched in the area to assist with recovery.

"At this time fire and law enforcement are going door to door performing a thorough secondary search. We are attempting to find any further injured individuals," Allen said.

The American Red Cross was also on site to help set up shelters, where people started to gather Sunday.

Allen said classes were canceled on Monday, and authorities would be able to fully assess the damage after sunrise.

The National Weather Service warned of more harsh weather in the coming days.

"Severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall are expected to develop from Texas to the middle Mississippi Valley region," the forecasters said.

"Flash flooding will continue to remain an issue as much of the ground is already saturated." Flood and thunderstorm warnings were issued in other parts of state, which is in a tornado-prone area of the United States.

The storm hit Van only days after a twister tore through Eastland county, Texas, on Saturday, 330 kilometers east of Van Zandt, killing one person and leaving another seriously injured.

Meanwhile, a tornado ripped through Delmont, South Dakota earlier Sunday damaging at least 20 buildings, NBC affiliate KDLT News reported.

There were no injuries reported, but dozens of people were left homeless.

The tornado season in the US southern plains normally runs from May into early June, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.