On Wednesday, a tornado hit eastern Texas, causing serious damage throughout Onalaska, in Polk County. The latest information from the Office of Emergency Management of Polk County is that three people were killed and 20 to 30 were injured during the storm. In another update shared by ABC, Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy indicated that 291 homes were affected and 46 destroyed. Search and rescue efforts are still ongoing.
According to the Office of Emergency Management’s PSA, the tornado warning went into effect at around 5:45pm. Reports of damage from the storm started coming in at 6:11 p.m. Overnight, Murphy issued a local state of disaster in Polk County, setting up a shelter for residents who have been displaced, located at the Dunbar Gymnasium in Livingston.
In a joint statement on the severe storm, Governor Greg Abbott and Murphy said:
Last night’s tornado caused significant damage and led to tragic loss of life within these communities, and our hearts continue to be with Texans affected by these devastating storms. The State of Texas and Polk County officials have been working closely together to ensure recovery resources are available and utilized within the communities ravaged by this tornado. We will continue to do all we can to give Polk County residents the support they need as they recover from this severe weather.
Photos and Videos of the Scene Showed Destroyed Buildings and Downed Power Lines
A lot of images and videos were shared online in the aftermath of the storm, including upturned trees, downed power lines and damaged buildings.
In one video, residents walk down a street that’s covered with downed trees, with severe damage seen on the sides of the road. The user wrote: “my dad’s entire neighborhood in onalaska tx just got completely destroyed by a tornado.” In the video, he says, “I don’t recognize the place” due to the extent of the damage.
The above photos, sent to KHOU by Amanda Price, show tornado damage near the Onalaska High School.
This resident of Yaupon Cove said: “My House in the Onalaska tx tornado we [were] all huddled in the back of the house in the hallway. House is in 2 parts roof gone kids room is gone trying to get back in to get our stuff rented a storage. this is yaupon cove drive.”
One video showed the storm after it hit Onalaska, going through Seven Oaks.
One video from a reporter showed a tree downed over a house and some power lines down.
This reporter with The Weather Channel showed significant damage to buildings in Paradise Acres, Onalaska.
Some photos of the damage show power lines downed.
The Polk County Office of Emergency Management Is Coordinating the Response to the Tornado
The Office of Emergency Management for Polk County has been providing frequent updates on its Facebook page for residents of Onalaska. It provided a map of the areas that were the hardest hit in Onalaska: the subdivisions of Yaupon Cove, Texas Acres, Canyon Park, Tree Farm Tracks, Kickapoo Estate, Triple Creek, Rocky Creek, Pine Harbor, Paradise Acres 1, 2 & 3, and Creekside.
It shared information about donations and volunteers, grief counseling services and where affected residents can get food and water. It also indicated that a boil water notice is in place for all of the Onalaska Water Supply and it will be providing bottled water for residents.