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Tornado Hit Caddo Mounds: 2 Tornadoes Struck Alto, Texas, on Saturday

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Tony Maples Photography


According to local media reports, a tornado touched down in Caddo Mounds State Historic Site on Saturday, April  13, 2019. Dozens were reported injured, some critically, as the funnel made its way through Alto and the Mounds site in the midst of the annual Caddo Culture Day festival, which was scheduled through until 3 p.m.

A local CBS affiliate reported that two storms went through Alto at approximately 11:45 a.m. and 1:20 p.m., one of which took place during a picnic at the Caddo Mounds site, injuring many and sending several to the hospital via school bus. A Facebook live stream by a journalist from the same station reported the damage incurred during the tornado, including cars that were overturned by the power of the storm, buildings that were destroyed, and trees completely uprooted. The report also stated that the Caddo Mounds visitor center also took a direct hit, losing its roof in the process. CBS 19/KYTX has reported that 25 people were injured and that, at the time, there were no fatalities, however, a reporter from ABC affiliate KLTV identified in a tweet he was told by an area official that 30 to 40 people were injured. In addition, KLTV further reported that four storm-related deaths have since been confirmed.

Tornado Hit Caddo Mounds: 2 Tornadoes Struck Alto, Texas, on Saturday

Photo: Facebook/Texas Wing, Civil Air Patrol

On April 13, 2019, The Caddo Mounds State Historic Site posted a status update to their Facebook account stating it had “been impacted by severe weather. The site is closed until further notice. Please monitor local news media for the latest information. We will provide an update as soon as we have more information. Please keep the community of Alto in your thoughts, along with all others affected by this disaster,” the post said.

Tornado Hit Caddo Mounds: 2 Tornadoes Struck Alto, Texas, on Saturday

Photo: Facebook/TerriGirl Bivin

Cleanup efforts are now said to be underway. Alto sustained dozens of destroyed homes. The National Weather Service identified the two tornadoes as being an EF-2 and an EF 3, respectively. Cherokee County has been in the process of having a state of emergency declared. In the meantime, a strike team from Smith County Emergency Services District No. 2 has been deployed to the scene by the State of Texas Department of Emergency Management, to assist with the cleanup. Texas is, unfortunately, synonymous with powerful tornadoes such as this each year. The one that tore through the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site was reportedly not heard in advance of touching down, which resulted in no shelter being sought and a higher number of injuries.