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The NWS said the storm was extremely dangerous and urged residents to take cover immediately.
SEVEN OAKS, Texas — A dangerous tornado reportedly ripped through Polk County on Wednesday, causing widespread damage and killing at least two people and injuring dozens more.
The twister was considered “extremely dangerous,” according to the National Weather Service. It was located over Seven Oaks, which is about 9 miles north of Livingston. It was moving east at 45 mph.
Officials warned residents in the area to take cover immediately as the twister moved through.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the tornado also struck a subdivision near Onalaska called Yaupon Cove.
FM 356 in Onalaska was shut down due to storm damage. Officials warned people to avoid the area.
Some photos that were taken near Onalaska High School show substantial storm damage. Amanda Price said her brother-in-law noticed that the pressure felt off and held onto the laundry door as the storm blew the back door off of his house. Price said he lives on Vince Drive in Onalaska.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted about the damage, saying the community would have the state’s full support to areas in the path of Wednesday’s tornado.
An area power company said about 9,000 people were left without power after several transmission lines were damaged. The company also said the tornado caused extreme damage to power lines in the area and it’s unclear how long it will take to make the repairs.
The Polk County Emergency Operations Center has been activated. Shelters at the Onalaska junior and senior high schools are in the process of opening for those needing emergency shelter.
Zachary Botley had just pulled over at a store when he saw the cloud.
“I see the mushroom cloud. It got to forming like a tornado,” he said.
Botley said he had just got off work when he pulled over at the store on Highway 59. After recording some video, he headed to his grandmother’s house in Seven Oaks.
“Trees snapped over. Pine trees snapped over. Her roof was gone. Just unbearable,” he said.
He said his grandmother, thankfully, was not inside when the twister hit. She’s safe, but won’t be returning to her home anytime soon.
“We just thank the Lord and pray and take it one day at a time,” he said.
Check out photos of the damage below:
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