8 Dead as Tornadoes Strike Dallas Area, Numerous Buildings Destroyed

Two more deaths reported in Mississippi.

ByABC News
December 27, 2015, 3:50 AM

— -- Eight people have died in the Dallas area after tornadoes and severe storms tore through, according to police.

Collin County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to ABC News that three people died in Collin County -- two in Copeville, one in Blue Ridge -- as a result of Saturday night’s extreme weather system.

Five people were earlier confirmed dead in the Garland, Texas area, Garland Police said. A statement issued by the city of Garland early Sunday morning said that the deaths may have been related to vehicles struck by the tornado at the area of SH 190 and I-30.

Cops also said that there were numerous injuries and that there were numerous buildings destroyed, but more specifics were not immediately available.

On Saturday, there were several reported tornadoes, according to NWS Fort Worth.

The destruction came as the death toll from severe storms throughout the South this week rose to 17. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) reported two more deaths Saturday, bringing the total in the state to 10. The two additional deaths in Bexar County were originally considered missing. Earlier, six people in Tennessee and one person in Arkansas also died in the storms, bringing the total to 17.

The National Weather Service Saturday afternoon issued a tornado watch for 49 counties in Texas, including Dallas County, the state’s second most populous after Harris County.

And Saturday evening, a "large and extremely dangerous" tornado was reported near Glenn Heights, TX, south of Dallas, according to the National Weather Service.

According to the Dallas Office of Emergency Management, there was some damage in the Glenn Heights area, but no reports of damage in the city of Dallas.

The storms also knocked out power to thousands.

On early Sunday, the County Judge in Ellis County issued an update that said "the Ellis County Emergency Management Coordinator and Fire Marshal, Red Oak Fire Chief, and Red Oak Police Chief are coordinating operations across the County to assess the damage caused by this evening’s tornado and to ensure the safety of residents in the affected area." The statement added there have been no reported fatalities or major injuries. Early estimates show that about 40 homes were partially or totally destroyed, and that 2,300 are without power.

Meanwhile in Mississippi, the MEMA said in a statement Saturday that there have been no reports of any additional missing people and that there were a total of 56 injuries reported, following the severe weather from Wednesday. Early damage reports show that 241 homes were either destroyed or suffered major damage.

The latest number of weather-related deaths in the South came as the National Weather Service said a tornado touched down near Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday. There were reportedly people trapped in damaged homes, according to Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell said there were no fatalities that officials knew of. There was one reported injury.

Widespread flooding has also been reported in the Birmingham area with over 7 inches of rain in northwestern Alabama and up to 6 inches in northeastern Alabama.

The heavy rainfall prompted Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency for counties in the state.

Meanwhile, some spots of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas could receive almost a foot of rain this weekend. Several rivers were expected to rapidly rise in the area and across the region.

Daniel Manzo, Ben Stein, Tom Liddy, Kelly Stevenson, Emily Shapiro, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.