Tornadoes struck Bell County, Texas, on Tuesday, injuring at least 23 people, according to officials. Bell County Judge David Blackburn said that 12 of the injured were taken to the hospital, but that he believes everyone is safe.
Two verified tornadoes touched down in Bell County, in the state’s central region, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.
911 calls reported a twister at 5:40 p.m. local time on Tuesday, according to Blackburn. He claimed that a tornado from nearby Williamson County crossed the county boundary and traveled seven miles on the ground.
According to Blackburn, the damages ranged from downed power lines and trees to structures being destroyed and reduced to rubble in numerous spots.
“I believe it appeared relatively rapidly,” Blackburn added. “The amount of the devastation is considerable. At this point, the fact that no fatalities have been reported is remarkable in and of itself.”
A double-threat storm system hit Texas and Iowa on Tuesday, causing at least eight tornadoes and dumping heavy snow across several states, including the Dakotas, Montana, and Minnesota.
Blizzard warnings were issued for parts of the Dakotas and Montana, and forecasters warned of dangerous whiteout conditions on the highways.
More than 500 miles of Interstate 94 between Montana and North Dakota were closed due to heavy snowfall. According to the NWS, a hilly location near Pony, Montana, received 47 inches of snow in a 24-hour period. More than a foot of snow fell in many other sections of the state.
According to NWS statistics, more than a foot of snow was reported in numerous sites in North Dakota, including Grand Forks and Rockford.
“We do experience blizzards in April,” Jeff Schild, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, told CNN early Tuesday. “The last time this degree of severity was seen was April 4-7, 1997.”