At least 7 dead, 100 injured in North Texas tornado outbreak

At least 7 people are dead, including at least three children, and at least 100 people have been injured after at least three tornadoes in Cooke, Collin and Denton counties on Saturday night.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott came to Cooke County on Sunday, the area that was the hardest hit. He issued a disaster declaration for the affected counties.

More than 200 homes were destroyed and 120 were damaged, according to the governor. Abbott says he expects that number to rise.

Governor Abbott urged anyone who suffered property damage to contact their insurance companies and go to

No one is believed to be missing at this time.

The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Valley View, in Cooke County, was an EF-3 rather than an EF-2 as a preliminary survey indicated.

The tornado was on the ground for 48-miles, from Forestburg in Montague County through Cooke County, to Pilot Point in Denton County.

They say the twister that hit Celina and destroyed several homes was also EF-3 level.

The weather service says there were also two EF-1s.

One of those hit the marina on Lake Ray Roberts in Denton County.

The other EF-1 touched down in Collin County.

Oncor says communities with extensive damage could be without power for "prolonged" times.

Late Sunday, President Joe Biden issued a statement saying in part, "Jill and I are praying for those who tragically lost their lives as a result of devastating tornadoes that tore through Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, leveling entire communities and leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Our condolences are with everyone who has been affected… Our team is directly in touch with state and local officials. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been on the ground conducting damage assessments and we stand ready to provide support as needed."

Cooke County

The hardest hit area from last night's tornado outbreak appears to be Valley View in Cooke County.

Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington says at least 7 people were killed.

Around 9 a.m., the sheriff confirmed they had found the bodies of a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old on Sunday morning.

Valley View ISD confirmed the deaths of three members of the Esparza family: mother, Laura Esparza, 15-year-old Miranda Esparza and 9-year-old Marco Esparza.

"Right now I think people are in shock. The families that lost loved ones are mourning their loss, and I'm just absolutely devastated," said Snuggs.

Snuggs says he believes that everyone has been accounted for at this time.

"Night time tornadoes are one of the most dangerous out there. People aren’t paying attention and it's hard to see the threat," said Jennifer Dunn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

Texas Task Force One Search and Rescue and first responders across the region were brought in to help search for victims in homes and businesses.

The Cooke County Sheriff says a reported tornado hit a mobile home park and a Shell Station Travel Center.

"This took a major hit. There is not much left of it," said Sappington.

Video taken by Conner Stines showed the moment the winds from the storm broke the store's windows.

Dozens of people were inside the station at the time taking cover, including children.

READ MORE: Valley View, TX tornado rips through gas station walls

Some people were injured, but all survived.

"It truly is a miracle," said Gov. Abbott.

Metal pieces from the building wrapped around power poles and the roof caved in.

An 18-wheeler was tossed on its side.

FOX 4 talked to the driver, who said he only had time to put on his seatbelt as the tornado came through.

He was able to walk away with minor injuries.

High winds took control of a car on FM 3002 near I-35 in Valley View.

Vehicles in the area were thrown into a nearby pasture.

Two people who were killed were found in a mobile home park.

"Power lines were down, trees were down, it's taken a huge effort to just get back in there where most of the damage is," said Sappington.

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Yolanda Vasquez has lived in her Valley View home for 14 years. In about 10 minutes, it was destroyed.

Vasquez says she and her husband got out of bed when they heard banging in the house. When they saw the winds picking up the roof, they ran. 

"I had the door closed, and I was holding it, looking down and praying to God," she recalled. I thought I was gonna die for sure. I said, ‘I’m not gonna make it anymore. This is the end of me.’" 

Vasquez considers herself and her family lucky.

Fellow Valley View resident Delaney Kerr got home just in time to rush inside and hunker down in a bathroom. Her family all made it through. 

"We were afraid to come out after it was over," she said. "It was finally over. Thank goodness. We’re lucky to be alive." 

VIDEO: Valley View, TX tornado caught on camera by driver

A Red Cross shelter has been set up at the First Baptist Church community center on North Lee Street in Valley View.

Valley View Methodist Church on Church St. opened a feeding center for first responders and those directly impacted.

Denton County

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The storm crossed Lake Ray Roberts, about 10 miles north of Denton.


Lake Ray Roberts Marina and RVs in Pilot Point were hit, tearing up the docks and sinking a number of boats.

Many of those that weren't sunk are damaged.

Residents say the owner of the RV park drove through the area honking his horn to make sure everyone was up and taking cover.

Sidney Lepard drove away from the area with her husband and returned to find their 40-foot motorhome destroyed.

"My husband says the bus is gone. I said, where could it have possibly gone? It's flipped over and it rolled it. It's flipped over, and it's lying on its roof. It's flat," Lepard said.

She says the decision to leave saved her life.

"We're very blessed that we left. We would not have survived. Our bus is completely flattened," Lepard said.

Lepard says people were trapped and that residents worked together to free them.

She says she has recovered some clothing, but nothing of value from inside her home. 

Denton County says a number of people with injuries were taken to hospitals via ambulance and CareFlite. 

The total number of injuries is not known at this time.

Collin County

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Celina, on the border of Denton and Collin Counties, was also hit hard.

"I am heartbroken from the reports of devastation sustained by our friends and neighbors in Collin County last night," said Collin County Judge Chris Hill. 

Several homes were destroyed, but officials say there were limited injuries and no fatalities.

We talked with Kim Weston, a resident on Prairie Meadow Lane, who came home after the storm to find her home destroyed.

Her mother, who also lives in the neighborhood was home at the time.

"We have heard that everyone on the street is ok and unfortunately our house was a total loss, but you know we're grateful that we're ok," said Kim Weston. "It was a godsend we weren't home. the neighbor across the street had an RV and it landed on our house the only part that's standing is where we would have been sheltered."

Weston said her mother was trapped inside the house for a time, but was eventually rescued.

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Collin County says there is a lot of debris across the area on Sunday morning and its public works team is out assessing the damage.

Residents in need of supplies are asked to contact GraceBridge.

The nonprofit will be open at 402 South Oklahoma Drive to accept donations of essential supplies and resources.