NWS confirms EF-3 hit Van area; dozens hospitalized, 2 dead - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

NWS confirms EF-3 hit Van area; dozens hospitalized, 2 dead

Van ISD windows shattered (Source: KLTV staff) Van ISD windows shattered (Source: KLTV staff)
Home leveled by possible tornado (Source: KLTV staff) Home leveled by possible tornado (Source: KLTV staff)
Van ISD damaged from storms (Source: KLTV staff) Van ISD damaged from storms (Source: KLTV staff)
Storms damaged Van heavily. (Source: KLTV staff) Storms damaged Van heavily. (Source: KLTV staff)
VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Dozens of people have been hospitalized and two people have died following an EF-3 tornado in Van.

On Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service said winds from the tornado topped 135 to 140 mph. The rating is preliminary and could change as crews continue to assess damages.

Van Zandt County emergency officials says three people are still missing and at least 43 were transported to area hospitals. Officials are asking people who may have self-evacuated to call and check in.

Other state assets are inbound to Van, according to officials.

East Texas Medical Center-Tyler reported receiving multiple injuries by ambulances Sunday night, a hospital official said. Two people are in critical condition there.

Four people were treated and released for head lacerations, cuts and scrapes. In addition, three children were brought by private vehicle from the same household with abrasions and cuts and they were all been treated and released. Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler reported treating 33 patients. Twenty-six of the patients were treated and released while seven were admitted. Of those patients who were admitted, two are listed in critical condition, according to a hospital spokesman.

READ MORE: Severe weather causes flooding, road closures

The Van Zandt County Fire Marshal says at least 30 percent of the city of Van was damaged by the storms.

Fire Marshal Chuck Allen says around 8:45 p.m. Sunday, severe weather struck the east side of Van Zandt County, spreading damage from north of Edom through Grand Saline. Van took the hardest hit, with about one-third of the city suffering damage ranging from destroyed homes, to trees and downed power lines, according to Allen. First responders established a triage at First Baptist Church in Van. Multiple ambulances were dispatched, as well as AMBUS, an emergency medical center.Van Independent School District was closed Monday. The district says J.E. Rhodes and Van Intermediate schools were heavily damaged and the campuses will be consolidated into three campuses for the remaining four weeks of the school year.

Allen says 15 fire departments spanning five counties have responded to the Van area. Many are going door-to-door, performing a search for any other victims injured in the storm. Several other law enforcement agencies are on scene and assisting with traffic control and other needs. 

Twelve dumpsters have been ordered and will be located at the dump yard on Bois d'arc. Anyone can dump trees and debris there, according to authorities.

READ MORE: How to donate to victims

The mayor of Van is urging residents to stay inside and away from the devastated area. He says people need to understand this is a disaster zone and they must stay away. It's also an oil area and many of the oil pump jacks have been damaged causing a possibility of explosions. 

The National Weather Service in Fort Worth says survey crews will be assessing damage in Van Zandt, Bosque, Hill and Denton counties throughout the day. One NWS survey team in Marion and Cass counties said in a preliminary report that an EF-0 tornado damaged areas north and south of Lodi, Texas. Later it was confirmed that the tornado that hit Van was at least an EF-3.

American Red Cross is on scene and is working on rehab for emergency responders and establishing shelter operations at the First Baptist Church in Van.

A NWS team in Marion and Cass counties also reported a preliminary EF-0 tornado damaged areas north and south of Lodi. Another NWS crew said an EF-1 tornado hit the Denton area with 100 mph winds. Those ratings are also subject to change pending further assessment.

Stay with KLTV and KLTV.com for updates. 

Copyright 2015 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly