June 15, 2023 Texas tornado news

By Amir Vera, Adam Renton, Travis Caldwell, Jason Hanna and Helen Regan, CNN

Updated 4:08 p.m. ET, June 16, 2023
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4:08 p.m. ET, June 16, 2023

Our live coverage has ended. Read more about the tornado in Perryton here.

2:36 a.m. ET, June 16, 2023

More than 260,000 homes and businesses in the southern US are without power

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

About 264,000 homes and businesses were without power in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and Alabama early Friday after severe storms in those states, according to utility tracker PowerOutage.us.

Here was the outage breakdown as of 2:11 a.m. ET, according to the site:

  • Texas: 200,058
  • Oklahoma: 26,740
  • Florida: 25,875
  • Alabama: 13,626

1:53 a.m. ET, June 16, 2023

7 tornado reports made across US on Thursday

From CNN's Robert Shackelford

Damaged pickup trucks sit among debris after a tornado passed through a residential area in Perryton, Texas, on Thursday.
Damaged pickup trucks sit among debris after a tornado passed through a residential area in Perryton, Texas, on Thursday. David Erickson/AP

There were over 185 storm reports across the United States on Thursday as another round of severe weather impacted much of the country. 

Seven tornado reports have occurred so far, with four in Oklahoma, two in Texas and one in Michigan.

There were also observed tornado tags in Ohio and Florida, which means more tornado reports are expected.

The most significant tornado was the one that moved through Perryton, Texas and led to at least three fatalities. 

Tornado watches are set to expire in the coming hour and severe thunderstorm watches will last for the next couple of hours.

The main threats are widespread damaging winds and isolated significant gusts up to 85 mph, isolated very large hail events to 2.5 inches in diameter and a tornado or two. 

So far, there have been over 95 high wind reports across the US. Some of the most notable are:

  • Norman, OK: 84 mph
  • Walters, OK: 80 mph
  • Plains City, KS: 79 mph
  • Lavon, TX: 78 mph
  • Lindsay, TX: 76 mph
12:26 a.m. ET, June 16, 2023

"People lost everything today," Perryton High School coach says on tornado aftermath

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

The whole northeast side of Perryton is devastated after the tornado, Cole Underwood, Perryton High School's athletic director and football coach, told CNN's Alisyn Camerota. 

The school is serving as a shelter for those impacted by the storm, he said. "Upwards of 250 to 300" people were there, including "volunteers and people coming in and eating and just getting water and cleaning up," he said.

"We have the gym space, and we have the capabilities to help the people that have lost everything and we're more than willing to do that," he said.

When asked what supplies are needed most, Underwood said: "Really anything you can think of: blankets, flashlights, candles. We would take anything and be grateful for anything that's donated."

"Sadly, there's just not a list of things ... you think about that you need on hand, but people lost everything today," he told CNN.

The coach said he has "just been so amazed at the level of camaraderie and love that this town has for each other, and there's no doubt in my mind that it will continue. ... We will persevere through this thing."

12:14 a.m. ET, June 16, 2023

Perryton fire chief says most of the missing are accounted for after tornado

From CNN's Dave Alsup

Perryton Fire Chief Paul Dutcher told CNN most of the missing are believed to be accounted for after the tornado hit the Texas town.  

Dutcher said there may still be one person missing and searchers are using infrared cameras on drones to search the area.  

Of the three who died from the tornado, two were killed in the downtown business district and the third died in a trailer park in the northeast part of town, he said.

The fire department building suffered a direct hit from the tornado.

“Many of our trucks are pretty badly damaged,” the chief said.  

Dutcher described the tornado-damaged area in Perryton as a mile to a mile-and-half long and as many as 200 homes may have been destroyed.  

12:03 a.m. ET, June 16, 2023

Storm chaser says tornado ran through main sections of Perryton and residents had little time to prepare

From CNN's Amir Vera

Storm chaser Brian Emfinger tells CNN that Thursday's tornado cut through some of the main sections of Perryton, Texas.

“It literally hit the residential, the downtown and then the industrial as well,” Emfinger said.

Emfinger said the worst he saw was in the northwest part of town. People there had little warning as the tornado touched down, barreling toward a mobile home park directly in its path, he said.

“The storm produced a wall cloud very quickly, and that wall cloud tightened up very rapidly and then it just went to the ground very quickly,” Emfinger said.

Usually with a strong tornado, there’s a lot of leeway time for people to prepare, he said.

“But this time — just because of how quick the tornado developed — I’m not sure that there was a tremendous length of time for people to prepare,” he said.
11:55 p.m. ET, June 15, 2023

Hospital chief says medical staff from nearby areas rushed to Perryton to help after tornado

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Medical staff from other hospitals near Perryton, Texas, rushed to help up to 100 people hurt after a tornado struck, Kelly Judice, Ochiltree General Hospital interim CEO,  told CNN Thursday. 

"All other hospitals in the surrounding communities actually came here to help us. A few of them took patients to their hospitals, most of the staff just stayed here and worked," she said. 

"Right now, we don't have anybody in our emergency room," Judice told CNN just before midnight. "We have either transferred them out or they have been able to go home — today we have seen somewhere between 75 and 100," she said. 

The majority of the patients treated "were all coming from north/northeast of the town," said Judice. The injured had "head injuries, collapsed lungs, broken legs, major lacerations—a little bit of everything," she said.

The hospital has not seen fatalities from the severe weather event, according to Judice. 

The hospital is currently running on generators.

"We can operate on each generator for a little over 72 hours," said Judice. 
11:45 p.m. ET, June 15, 2023

At least 3 dead after Perryton tornado, city fire department confirms

From CNN's Dave Alsup

A view of a damaged site in Perryton as the town gets struck by a tornado on Thursday.
A view of a damaged site in Perryton as the town gets struck by a tornado on Thursday. Sabrina Devers/TMX/Reuters

Perryton Fire Department Chief Paul Dutcher tells KAMR-TV that at least three people have died after a tornado struck the town. 

CNN has attempted to reach the Perryton Fire Department with no response.

11:38 p.m. ET, June 15, 2023

Xcel Energy says Perryton is without power

From CNN's Raja Razek 

Perryton, Texas is without power as "facilities have been de-energized for safety purposes," utility company Xcel Energy said in an email to CNN.

"Xcel Energy crews are onsite in Perryton assessing damage from a tornado that struck the city this evening," said Wes Reeves, media spokesperson for Xcel Energy in Texas, based in Amarillo.

The National Weather Service in Amarillo confirmed that a tornado struck the town and images of extensive damage have been circulating on social media.

"Currently, the city is without power as facilities have been de-energized for safety purposes. Transmission lines supplying the city with electricity have sustained damage and many lower voltage distribution lines are down in the city," Reeves said. "Xcel Energy personnel are working to ensure the safety of Perryton residents and first responders. An estimated time of restoration is not yet available."