LAGUNA HEIGHTS, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The National Weather Service in Brownsville and Cameron County officials confirmed an EF1 tornado made landfall at 4:04 a.m. in Laguna Heights and killed one person.
The preliminary damage assessment indicates the EF1 tornado had wind speeds around 86-105 mph, and possibly up to 110 mph.
It made landfall between 4:01-4:06 a.m. in Laguna Heights.
Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño said during a Saturday afternoon news conference, 11 people were injured and transported to local hospitals as a result of the tornado.
Treviño confirmed the man killed by the tornado was crushed by his mobile home.
Port Isabel Police Chief Robert Lopez confirmed to ValleyCentral that there is significant property damage throughout the community.
The county judge said as of Saturday afternoon 38 people were being housed at the temporary shelter in Port Isabel.
“With a tornado of this size and in this area we are thankful that at this point we only have one fatality and 10 [injured] individuals,” Treviño said. “We are still assessing damage … and we are very fortunate that there was not more life lost and the injuries so far are not life-threatening. We can rebuild the property but loss of life is something that we want to avoid.”
Those with property damage may submit photos of their property via the Cameron County website.
Search for victims
The Cameron County Emergency Manager Tom Hushen said they are going building to building searching for victims in the area of Highway 100 (East Ocean Boulevard) and Van Buren.
He told ValleyCentral this morning many people were injured by the overnight storm.
Catherine Valdez drove to Laguna Heights this morning to pick up her brother who’s home was destroyed by the tornado.
“It looks like a war zone. My brother’s window blew in and hit him in the face, he is pretty shook up and his dog was so shaken as well. I cannot believe this happened. He has lost everything, his home, his belongings, but thank God he is alive,” Valdez told ValleyCentral.
She’s asking other residents to avoid the area because everything is destroyed.
“Tell them to be very careful. It was 5:00 am when I picked up my brother. Debris and power lines down everywhere. I almost drove through a half way down power line.”
Home after home is destroyed or badly damaged. Some homes have no roofs, elsewhere cars are badly damaged and trees are uprooted.
The heaviest rainfall has now moved well south and east of the Valley. Light rain with isolated areas of moderate rain still lingers. All flood advisories have expired. There will be a slight risk of excessive rainfall that could lead to flooding for later this afternoon and tonight.
The NWS says there is no flooding occuring on the Rio Grande and they do not expect any to happen. River level observations were taken in Rio Grande City, south of San Benito and Brownsville.
This is a developing story. We’ll update it as we receive new details.
Stay up to date with this and any other storm-related information by downloading our Valley Storm Team app.