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Tornadoes Touch Down Near Dallas, Killing Multiple People


A Christmas week of unusually warm weather has brought storms that claimed more than two dozen lives across the southern United States. In Dallas, people are waking up to the damage left behind from a weather system that spawned at least 11 tornadoes in the area. And it's not over. The region is bracing for more harsh weather. Joining us this morning from Dallas, Texas, is Anita Foster from the American Red Cross. Good morning, Anita.

ANITA FOSTER: Good morning.

KAHN: What does it look like where you are?

FOSTER: There's extreme damage. Brick-and-mortar homes, new construction - we're seeing homes that are completely off their foundation, walls down, roots completely ripped off, cars tossed about like they were toys around the neighborhood. And so it's widespread. We have damage in multiple counties, so we know we had several large, devastating tornadoes on the ground yesterday.

KAHN: And you've opened shelters in the area. Have people arrived? Are you expecting a lot of people to come?

FOSTER: We do. We opened three shelters throughout the overnight hours last night, and those are in three different communities around the area. So we - yes, we did have people that stayed overnight with us and some people that came just to stay safe until power lines were shut down and some debris was cleared from what roadways. Today, we're dealing with additional weather with flooding and with heavy rain.

KAHN: I understand it is - it's still raining there. Is that...

FOSTER: It is still raining, and it's just insult to injury. So we know it's really important for families when they've lost everything that they have the opportunity to salvage. And it may not make sense to someone who hasn't lost their home, but it's critically important that you be able to sift through that debris and try to find maybe your wedding rings or your photo albums or your kids' school pictures, just those things that mean something to you sentimentally that you can save. And unfortunately, it started raining almost immediately after the storm rolled in, and it hasn't stopped. And so we know for some people that might have even been able to salvage a few things, now that also has been taken away by the storms.

KAHN: And also there's more harsh weather on the forecast. Is that - what are you telling people to do now?

FOSTER: So we're encouraging everyone, whether they're directly impacted by last night's storms or they live in the metroplex, to remain weather aware and vigilant. We've got heavy rain through the day today. We have flooded throughout the year. It's very saturated here in north Texas. We've been disaster prone here since about April of this year. And so we can't take a lot of rain without creating additional flooding. So we're just telling people - our best message from the National Weather Service is turn around, don't drown.

KAHN: Anita Foster from the American Red Cross. Thank you so much, Anita.

FOSTER: My pleasure, thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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