Dallas clubs Saturday night

Nine tornadoes confirmed; storms leave 11 dead

An aerial image taken Sunday, December 27, 2015 shows the path of a tornado in Rowlett, Texas. Violent storms ripped through the North Texas area late Saturday, spawning tornados that killed 11 people. (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News)Related

Updated at 8 p.m. Sunday: Revised throughout the day to reflect the latest information.

Hundreds huddled in shelters Sunday while trying to add up the damage to their homes, churches and schools caused by deadly storms that blew through North Texas.

Eleven people, including an infant, were killed in Dallas and Collin counties, and as many as 11 tornadoes were reported to the National Weather Service.

Click to enlarge for a better look at the path and impact of the tornado that killed eight in GarlandThe National Weather Service confirmed nine tornadoes Sunday night and said that number could rise in the coming days as more areas are surveyed.

A tornado that blew through Garland, Rowlett and Sunnyvale killing eight people Saturday night has been classified as an EF4, with winds up to 180 mph, according to the Weather Service. And a tornado that killed two people in Copeville has been classified as an EF2 with winds reaching 125 mph.

The tornadoes started as far south as Hillsboro and moved north toward Blue Ridge and northeast to Sulphur Springs.

“I don’t know if it was one tornado or several, ” said meteorologist Matt Bishop. “We’re trying to figure it all out.”

Residents and rescue workers continued to work frantically Sunday morning, battling early heavy rain and the forecast of more downpours in the afternoon. By Sunday night, forecasters are predicting a rain and snow mix over the same neighborhoods.

About 8, 000 power outages were reported Sunday, mostly in Rowlett, down from 50, 000 at the height of the storm.

“This is catastrophic, ” said Rowlett city manager Brian Funderburk. “We are going to have many people displaced for months.”

Early estimates suggested as many as 1, 000 homes and buildings were damaged across Ellis, Dallas and Collin counties.

Gov. Greg Abbott asked Sunday afternoon that Texans remain vigilant, heed authorities instructions and stay off the roads. He said there is no official count of the number of storm fatalities statewide.

“I want to emphasize the compassion, support and prayers that I and the first lady off to those … who have lost a family member, ” Abbott said.

Garland devastation

Authorities were still sorting through wreckage Sunday near Interstate 30 and the George Bush Turnpike. Police said the eight people killed in Garland all died in tornado-related traffic accidents Saturday. A twister ripped through Garland around 6:45 p.m., sending a dozen or so vehicles into the air, said police spokesman Lt. Pedro Barineau.

Meteorologists confirmed the EF4 classified tornado brought up to 180 mph winds to Garland. The tornado traveled 13 miles from Sunnyvale northeast to Rowlett.

Some of the bodies were recovered in the crashed cars and trucks; some were thrown from the scene.

“So many families have been impacted by this, ” said Barineau. “Such a devastating thing.”

The Dallas County medical examiner is working to identify the eight dead and notify their families.

Garland police said 15 people were transported by ambulance to local hospitals with various injuries, but none appeared to be life-threatening.

Some Garland residents who had to evacuate their homes took refuge at gas stations near the corner of I-30 and Bobtown.

AManda Williams' house in Copeville was torn apart by the  Dec. 26 tornado. (Valerie Wigglesworth/Dallas Morning News) Cars are thrown on top of each other after a tornado went through in east Garland early Saturday evening December 26, 2015. The neighborhood is of High Street off of Bobtown Road. (Ron Baselice/The Dallas Morning News)
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