Home / National News / Two Dead, Three Missing After Apparent Tornado in Eastern Texas, Authorities Say


(VAN, Texas) — At least two people are dead after an apparent tornado struck eastern Texas on Sunday, authorities said Monday.

The devastating storm hit the small city of Van in northern Van Zandt County just before 9 p.m.

Dozens of people were hospitalized, officials said, and three people remained unaccounted for, down from eight earlier in the day.

The two killed were a husband and wife at their home, officials said. The couple was not identified by name.

Approximately 30 percent of the city suffered damages, officials said, ranging from destroyed homes to downed trees and power lines.

Officials are still working to restore power.

“My stomach kind of just went in knots when I saw this,” one resident said. “I didn’t think it was going to be this bad.”

Roy Betencourt, who suffered a broken arm during the storm, said by the time the skies darkened Sunday night, the tornado was already on top of him and his family.

“Once the sirens came on, the lights kind of flickered out. They went out and, as soon as they hit, it was in my backyard,” he said.

Don Dunn, superintendent of Van’s school district, said several schools were also damaged.

“We feel very blessed that this did not happen during a school day and that I’m not standing up here right now talking to you about any kids,” Dunn said. “[I] just ask that you continue to send your thoughts and your prayers to the community of Van.”

Van Zandt County Judge Don Kirkpatrick said Van is a “strong community” and “will rebuild.”

There were 71 reported apparent tornadoes this weekend, stretching from Iowa to Texas. Besides Van, the areas hit hardest by possible tornadoes were Lake City, Iowa and Delmont, South Dakota.

In Arkansas, a married couple was killed Sunday after severe weather tore through the mobile home park where they lived. An infant inside the home survived, authorities said.

Tornado threats continue Monday, further north around Detroit and Cleveland.

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