EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Two people have been confirmed dead following severe storms that produced golfball-sized hail across East Texas on Saturday night.
The National Weather Service sent a team from its Shreveport office to Marion County to survey the damage following the severe weather, and they arrived at the scene at approximately noon Sunday. The team's preliminary findings show that there was no tornado in the Lake o' the Pines area. They say that straight-line winds from 80-90 mph caused the trees in wet, saturated ground to topple during the storms.
A park ranger at the campground said that the park is now closed to the public and will remain closed indefinitely. He said that whether it even opens for the summer remains to be seen, as the cleanup needed following the storm is extensive.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office released a statement on one of the fatalities Sunday morning:
"Please be aware that there was one fatality at the Brushy Creek campground and not four, as was mistakenly reported initially. Due to the tremendous debris field and heavy rain it was difficult to assess. The deceased was a 40-year woman from southeast Texas. Also please do not attempt to enter this area until recovery and cleanup efforts are completed."
Early Sunday morning, Texarkana DPS officials confirmed troopers are responding to impacted areas in the county.
Another death has been confirmed with Longview Police.
According to Sgt. Shane McCarter, with Longview Police, a 41-year-old man was killed during the storms at the Flamingo Mobile Home Park when a tree fell on his mobile home. His 12-year-old son was rescued and was taken to the hospital. His injuries are unknown at this time. McCarter confirmed the death was a result of the storms.
Updates will be provided as they are received and confirmed.
It is unclear at this time if there are any injuries.
Video from the Brushy Creek Campground on the banks of Lake o' the Pines in Marion County shows uprooted trees, damaged vehicles and storm debris strewn across the ground.
Earlier in the evening, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for several counties in Northeast Texas, including Panola, Harrison, and Marion counties.
As the storm tracked southeast across the area, hail near 2 inches in diameter and winds up to 60 mph were reported - particularly in the Mount Pleasant area.
The NWS issued a warning, saying people and animals outdoors would be injured if they remained outside during the storm.
"Expect hail damage to roofs, siding, windows, and vehicles. Expect wind damage to roofs, siding, and trees," the NWS said. "This is a dangerous storm. Prepare immediately for large destructive hail capable of producing significant damage. People outside should move to a shelter, inside a strong building and away from windows."
KLTV has reached out to DPS, Marion County and Texas Parks and Wildlife officials for information on recovery efforts. KLTV will provide updates as they become available.