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Residents in southeastern Oklahoma and northeastern Texas are working to recover, thankful to have survived after a storm stretching from Dallas to northwest Arkansas spawned tornadoes last Friday night, producing flash floods, killing at least two people, injuring dozens and leaving homes and buildings in ruins.
Preliminary damage reports indicate the deadly storms that moved through parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma produced at least an EF3 tornado in East Texas that was possibly even more powerful when it crossed into McCurtain County in southeast Oklahoma and hit the town of Idabel, KTAL-TV reports.
According to the outlet, an EF3 tornado is classified with winds of 136-165 miles per hour, causing severe damage, including destruction to roofs and some walls torn from well-constructed houses; even trains could be overturned; most trees in forested areas uprooted and heavy cars lifted and thrown.
Morris County, Texas, Judge Doug Reeder said in a social media post that one person died as a result of a tornado in the far northeastern Texas County, offering no other details.
In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) went to Idabel on Saturday to see the damage. Keli Cain, a spokesperson for the state's Department of Emergency Management, said a 90-year-old man's body was found at his home in the Pickens area of McCurtain County, about 36 miles north of Idabel.
The rural town of about 7,000 at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains saw extensive damage. "There are well over 100 homes and businesses damaged from minor damage to totally destroyed," Cain said.
Trinity Baptist Church in Idabel was preparing to complete a new building when the storm ripped apart their sanctuary and flattened the shell of the new structure next door, according to Pastor Don Myer.
In a post to the church's Facebook page Saturday, the writer noted the cornerstone of the building was still standing following the storm and it was still sharing an important message.
"As we sorted through the rubble this morning, I noticed that our cornerstone still stands. The message on it reads, 'TO GOD BE THE GLORY, GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE.'"
"As we move forward from here, we trust that our church family is held fast by Christ, our Chief Cornerstone. We look forward to surrendering ourselves fully to God as He walks us through the coming weeks and months," the post continued.
"Thank you, everyone, for your support in this time. Our prayers are with our community in this great time of need. God bless you all," the post concluded.
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Reprinted with permission from cbn.com. Copyright © 2022 The Christian Broadcasting Network Inc. All rights reserved.
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