Nine people have been confirmed dead after a Category 4 tornado swept through three neighborhoods in the northern Coahuila city of Ciudad Acuña the morning of Monday May 25th, 2015.
“Some 1,500 homes have been left uninhabitable“, said Mayor Lenin Pérez.
“Most damaged neighborhoods were Santa Rosa, Altos Santa Teresa and Las Aves“, said Civil Protection officials.
“The storm began around 5:30 and continued for about 20 minutes but the tornado itself lasted just six seconds“, the mayor said. “Vehicles were lifted from the ground and flung on to the roofs of houses“.
“The Altos de Santa Teresa area saw the worst part after the tornado passed through in a straight line, causing destruction in four city blocks“, said Government Secretary Víctor Zamora Rodríguez.
Today, Tuesday May 26th, Civil Protection authorities in Ciudad Acuña have confirmed that 13 people died, 300 were injured and one child is missing after a yesterday’s tornado.
A census is under way today to determine how many homes were damaged: the most recent count is that 247 were completely destroyed and 871 partially damaged. Most are located in social housing developments.
Cars were picked up and flung on top of houses and at least one transit bus was flipped over.
A state of emergency has been declared to provide access to money through the emergency fund, Fonden.
The storm struck about 6:00am and came with little warning. But for many a rapid increase in the intensity of the wind and hailstones the size of golf balls was warning enough to stay inside. One family of eight took refuge in a bathroom.
Upon hearing the hailstorm, Luz Elena Ramírez Cigarroa’s maternal instincts kicked in and she herded her family into the bathroom after dissuading her husband from going outside to cover his truck.
The tornado struck and six seconds later the truck in question had been picked up and hurled on to the roof of a neighbor’s house.
Ramírez Cigarroa explained the family had moved to Acuña from Ciudad Juárez. “We came to flee the violence and now look what we found instead.”
President Peña Nieto toured the damaged areas yesterday and today, where dozens of houses could be seen missing roofs, walls and windows, many cars were overturned and utility poles down.
He said Civil Protection has established a committee that will see to the repairing all the homes that were damaged. In response to a woman who said there had been looting last night, Peña Nieto said federal security forces had been charged with maintaining order in the three neighborhoods affected, Santa Teresa, Las Aves and Santa Rosa.
Utilities were being restored to those neighborhoods on the morning of Tuesday May 26th, where 4,684 electricity customers remained without power. The Federal Electricity Commission said 50% of those had their power back on while the national water commission, Conagua, said water service had been fully restored.
The tornado was described yesterday as Category 4 on the Fujita scale but Conagua has since downgraded that ranking to a 2 or 3. It was reported to have been moving at 50 km/h and producing gusts up to 200 km/h.
In the past 15 years Mexico has recorded 130 tornadoes but only one — in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, in 2007 — was stronger than yesterday’s.
Authorities warned this morning there could be more to come, and urged residents of Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas to take extreme caution due to the possibility of heavy rain, hail and tornadoes.
Local officials say there are thousands of victims and shelters are being activated to house them.
In a Category 4 tornado wind speeds reach 267 to 322 km/h and damage is described as extreme.
Ciudad Acuña is located across the border from Del Rio, Texas, and has a population of about 180,000.
Tornados were also reported on Tuesday May 26th in Houston and Irving, Texas. A tornado watch remains in effect in central and southern regions of the state
– Source: http://www.theyucatantimes.com/