Unforgiving tornadoes tearing through Texas this weekend claimed at least 11 lives, injured dozens and diminished the structures in their paths to piles of rubble.
The National Weather Service confirmed Sunday night that at least nine separate tornadoes had hit the Lone Star State, including one that killed eight people on Saturday as it moved through Garland, Rowlett and Sunnyvale, the Dallas Morning News reported. According to the Weather Channel, that tornado was classified as an EF4, the second-strongest ranking on the scale used to measure tornado strength, with winds between 166 and 200 mph. The tornado was the only the second of that strength to hit Dallas County since 1950.
The twisters are just one part of a multi-day stretch of deadly weather events tormenting the South, the Plains and the Midwest during the holiday season. More than 40 deaths related to tornadoes, blizzards, freezing rain and floods have been reported in the regions since Wednesday, according to Weather Underground.
This month is now the deadliest December for tornadoes since 1953, The Washington Post reports.
"I don't declare local disasters lightly," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told The Associated Press. "But I looked at the scene for 10 minutes, spoke to the incident commander and then called the lawyers to bring the paperwork."
See photos below of the destruction in Texas and the surrounding area: