CALDWELL, TEX. -- Tornadoes swept across more than 200 miles of eastern Texas yesterday, killing nine people, injuring at least 132, downing power lines and damaging scores of homes and buildings, authorities said.
Heavy destruction extended from east-central Texas just west of Austin to the Tyler area, in the state's northeast corner, and into Louisiana. Sixty-five Texas counties remained under tornado watch or warning last night, as well as parts of Louisiana and Arkansas.
Some of the heaviest damage occurred at Palestine, about 120 miles southeast of Dallas, where an elementary school and two churches were leveled, dozens of homes were destroyed, and an estimated 100 to 150 buildings were damaged from a twister that cut a seven-mile swath through town, in some places as wide as a mile.
One person was reported dead in Palestine and two were killed about 25 northeast in Jacksonville, a hospital official said.
Two people were killed in Caldwell, about 60 miles northeast of Austin, and eight were injured when a twister cut a 16-mile swath through Burleson County, officials said.
Two people were killed in Normangee, about 50 miles northeast of Caldwell, when a tornado touched down shortly after 2 p.m., said a sheriff's dispatcher in Madison County.
Two others died in a tornado near Whitehouse, near Tyler, said Smith County Deputy Sheriff Johnny Beddingfield. He said several tornadoes touched down in the area.