At least 13 people were killed Monday after a powerful tornado ripped through Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila state, a Mexican city across the river from Del Rio, Texas. The twister was part of a larger storm system that has inundated large parts of Texas and Oklahoma, killing at least three and sending 12 missing in one south Texas county. It’s rare for tornados to appear so far south of Tornado Alley.
“This is something we’ve never seen in Acuña, where so many homes have collapsed,” Mayor Evaristo Lenin Pérez Rivers told Mexico’s El Universal newspaper. He said it’s the first twister to hit the city in more than a century. Luis Felipe Puente, the head of Mexico's national civil defense agency, told local media that 230 people had been injured.
The Mexican paper Milenio says the tornado registered as a category 4, which means sustained winds were as high as 200 miles an hour. The tornado touched down at about 6:10 a.m. and was on the ground for just six seconds during the 20-minute event. Tornadoes don’t need to touch ground to inflict damage.
"There are cars on top of houses, there are dead people lying in the street, it’s total chaos," said resident Maria del Rosario Ramirez, who was quoted by Mexican newspaper La Jornada.
Images posted on Twitter show overturned buses and wrecked sedans leaning up against homes in a typical Mexican housing development as families assess the damage.
â€” RCG Oficial (@RCGoficial) May 25, 2015
Coahuila Gov. Ruben Moreira said at least 10 adults and three children have been found dead and that the death toll was likely to increase, according to the BBC. An infant who had been strapped into a child car seat is missing.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was headed to the state on Monday afternoon to assess the damage, according to state news wire Notimex.
â€” Borderland Beat (@Borderland_Beat) May 25, 2015
Meanwhile, north of the border, a dozen people were still missing Monday afternoon in central Texas amid record-setting rains.