At least six confirmed dead in Texas tornadoes

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GRANBURY, Texas (AP) — A rash of tornadoes slammed into several small communities in North Texas overnight, leaving at least six people dead, dozens more injured and hundreds homeless. The violent spring storm scattered bodies, flattened homes and threw trailers onto cars.

In Granbury, the worst-hit city, a tornado tore through two neighborhoods around 8 p.m. Wednesday. Resident Elizabeth Tovar said fist-sized hail heralded the tornado’s arrival and prompted her and her family to hide in their bathroom.

“We were all, like, hugging in the bathtub and that’s when it started happening. I heard glass shattering and I knew my house was going,” Tovar said, shaking her head. “We looked up and ... the whole ceiling was gone.”

Behind one house, a detached garage was stripped of most of its aluminum siding, the door caved in and the roof torn off. A tree behind the house was stripped of its branches and a vacant doublewide mobile home on an adjoining lot was torn apart.

Daniel and Amanda Layne initially thought they were safe sheltering under their carport. But then “it started getting worse and worse,” and the couple took shelter in their bathroom, Daniel Layne said.

“The windows and the cars are gone. Both our cars are messed up. I had a big shop. Ain’t a piece of it left now,” Layne said with a shrug.

Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds described the devastating aftermath and the hunt for bodies in Granbury, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

“Some were found in houses. Some were found around houses,” Deeds said. “There was a report that two of these people that they found were not even near their homes. So we’re going to have to search the area out there.”

Seven people remain unaccounted and authorities hope they are all staying with family or friends, Deeds said at a news conference this morning. Emergency responders were combing the area and worked to identify the six adults whose remains were found, he said.

He said 37 injured people were treated at hospitals.

Harold Brooks, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s severe storm lab in Norman, Okla., said May 15 is the latest into the month that the U.S. has had to wait for its first significant tornadoes of the year. Brooks said he would expect 2013 to be one of the least lethal tornado years since the agency started keeping records in 1954.

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