Governor Abbott declares disaster in 16 Texas counties

DALLAS, Texas (AP) - Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for 16 Texas counties following severe overnight storms including a tornado that battered parts of Dallas.

In this Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019 photo, Henry Ramirez, a member of Primera Iglesia Dallas, is consoled by his mother Maribel Morales as they survey severe damage to the church, where Ramirez plays drums and Morales attends, after a tornado tore through North Dallas. | Photo Source: AP Photo / Jeffrey McWhorter

Abbott's declaration Monday makes state resources available to local officials, plus waives certain regulations to allow utilities to bring in out-of-state resources.

The counties covered are: Cass; Cameron; Collin; Dallas; Ellis; Erath; Hunt; Kaufman; Lamar; Panola; Rains; Rockwall; Rusk; Tarrant; Van Zandt; and Wood.

The National Weather Service says the tornado that ripped through North Dallas had a maximum wind speed of 140 mph.

The agency rated the Sunday night tornado as EF-3. It says another tornado in the suburb of Rowlett was EF-1, with maximum wind speeds of 100 mph.

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses are without power after the swathe of heavy storms hit Dallas before tracking northeast into Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Several homes were seriously damaged by the tornado that struck near Dallas Love Field Airport, which was not damaged.

Mayor Eric Johnson says Dallas was very fortunate to have suffered no fatalities or serious injuries.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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