Over a third of Texas counties are under a disaster declaration

More than a third of the counties in Texas are under a disaster declaration after extreme weather battered much of the state Saturday night and into Sunday.

At least 18 people have died in the storms due to the severe weather across the central U.S., which included multiple tornados.

Gov. Gregg Abbott made a disaster declaration for 108 counties in Texas as of Sunday. He said at least seven people, including four children, died due to the storms, and more than 100 were injured.

“We are going through the heart-wrenching loss of life, including the heartbreak of a family losing a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old child,” Abbott said. “When they woke up yesterday, they had no way of knowing the family would be literally crushed by this horrific storm.”

Abbott spoke from outside the wreckage of a gas station in Valley View, north of Dallas, which was completely destroyed in a tornado.

“I saw the harrowing video inside the Valley View gas station as the tornado passed through, with the people stockpiled in there, clinging to safety,” Abbott said, calling it a “miracle” that there were no deaths there.

The National Weather Service said “multiple tornadoes” touched down in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, including at least two EF-2 tornadoes and a “high end” EF-3 tornado, according to an early damage analysis.

The most recent storms come on the heels of a deadly tornado season in the U.S. so far this year. Officials said last week that five people died and another 35 were injured in Iowa as dangerous tornadoes ripped through the state.

Sunday’s band of storms moved northeast over the course of the evening, spawning a tornado near St. Louis and tornado watches in parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. More than 7 million Americans were under a tornado watch as of Sunday evening.

The 18 dead include eight people in Arkansas, seven in Texas, two in Oklahoma and one in Kentucky.

President Biden gave his condolences for the storm victims Sunday evening.

“Jill and I are praying for those who tragically lost their lives as a result of devastating tornadoes that tore through Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, leveling entire communities and leaving a path of destruction in their wake,” he said said in a statement.

“This comes as communities across the Midwest and South are still reeling from deadly storms and severe weather,” the president added, committing to send federal disaster relief aid to the region.

Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals home games were delayed due to weather Sunday, with viral video showing stairs in a Cardinals dugout turning into a waterfall due to extreme rainfall.

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