CANTON, Texas (KETK) – City and county officials held a press conference Sunday morning on the latest recovery efforts in Canton and the surrounding area.
Mayor Lou Ann Everett said she was affected by the devastation in the area.
“The damage was extensive in the affected area. I have just driven through some of it and it is heartbreaking and upsetting to say the least,” Everett said.
A local disaster declaration has been signed.
Everett said at least four people are dead and 49 injured, however, previous reports have stated five people killed during the storm and ETMC reports 56 injured. Sixteen of the reported injuries were sent to ETMC from the Canton High School triage which is expected to be open through at least noon at the band hall.
Tornadoes hitting Van Zandt County caused a swath of damage lasting 35 miles long and stretching 15 miles wide. The destructive path stretches from the south county line, just to south of the northern county line.
Search and rescues teams are currently going door to door with dogs to look for any trapped victims or worse, said Everrett. A hasty search was conducted Saturday night, but was repeatedly halted from ongoing storms and widespread damage.
First Monday Trade Days did flood, however, the water has since receded. Trade Days will be closed Sunday.
Generators will be brought in to assist with the water situation and the public is asked to conserve water at this time.
Everett said Oncor is urging citizens to not remove trees as there is a risk for power lines could be entangled in the branches. Power could be restored by midnight, however, there is no exact ETA of repair work to be finished.
Volunteers are not needed at this time.
The mayor also clarified Canton proper was not hit by the tornadoes.
County Judge Don Kirkpatrick stated multiple tornadoes touched down in Van Zandt County around 4:45 p.m. and emergency personnel was immediately activated.
Drivers are urged to use extreme caution when traveling through the area.