@SkySPOT97 / Micheal Lavender

At least 4 dead, 50 hospitalized after multiple tornadoes slam East Texas

April 30, 2017 - 9:40 am

(DALLAS) -- At least four people are dead after several tornadoes slammed East Texas Saturday, officials said.

The deaths occurred in the Canton area, located about 50 miles east of Dallas. Canton Fire Department Captain Brian Horton said the number of fatalities "may go up [Sunday> morning ... we still may have people unaccounted for."

Three hospitals that are part of the East Texas Medical Center Regional Heathcare Systems received at least 48 patients, spokeswoman Rebecca Berkley told ABC News. One person is in critical condition, while the others have non-life-threatening injuries.

Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler received two patients, a spokesperson said. 

As of 9 p.m. local time, the National Weather Service's Fort Worth office said it could confirm three tornadoes hit the area: In Canton, Caney City and Eustace. 

Van Zandt County judge Don Kirkpatrick said a disaster declaration had been issued for the area, and that teams are in the process of search of recovery. 

There is "extensive damage" across the county, including some homes that were destroyed, said county commissioner Virgin Melton, adding that trees and power lines are down in several locations. "There is debris everywhere," he said.

Videos and photos posted to social media also showed overturned cars and pickup trucks and flattened homes.

Local resident Ernestine Cook told ABC affiliate WFAA that she rushed to a storm center just in time. "It hit so hard, so fast," she said. "It just kept moving. I've never seen anything like it after 22 years of living here."

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