Tornado rips through East Texas city of Onalaska, killing 3 and injuring dozens

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At least three people were killed and up to 30 people were injured Wednesday as a possible tornado ripped through the small East Texas city of Onalaska, about 85 miles north of Houston.

The tornado flipped cars and leveled home in several neighborhoods in Onalaska. Three people died in the storm and another 20 to 30 people were injured, according to Polk County Emergency Management.

Meteorologists warned of the tornado around 5:45 p.m. By 6:11 p.m., reports of damage began pouring in, according to a statement from the emergency management team.

MORE ON THE TORNADO: ‘Extremely dangerous’ tornado moves through southeast Texas counties north of Houston

One Onalaska resident, Charles Stephens, who lives on a branch of Lake Livingston, told the Houston Chronicle that a woman in his neighborhood was found dead in the water. At least two other people from his neighborhood were also injured, including one boy with a leg injury.

“It’s a lot of devastation,” Stephens said. “I don’t think anybody is going to be able to get (into the neighborhood).”

The National Weather Service in Houston is sending experts to the site Thursday to confirm the tornado and assess the damage to determine how strong the winds were.

Jay R. Jordan covers breaking news in the Houston area. Read him on our breaking news site,, and our subscriber site, | Follow him on Twitter at @JayRJordan | Email him at

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