A massive tornado has been captured on camera tearing towards the town of Lockett, Texas, in the early hours of Wednesday.
The sheriff’s department in Wilbarger County reported "extensive structural damage" in the small town that lies close to the Oklahoma border, according to news outlet Weather.com.
Wilberger County Sheriff Brian Fritze told News Channel 6 that first responders could not assess damage or downed power lines overnight but said that several homes and barns appeared to suffer extensive damage. Sheriff Fritze also confirmed there were no significant injuries or deaths.
The video showed a huge column of dust heading towards wind turbines, traffic, and homes in the town of 1,000 people.
Stormchaser Josh Moore tweeted: “A vehicle was flipped over. Extensive structural damage it appears.”
The US National Weather Service issued warnings that severe thunderstorms are expected from eastern Texas into the mid-Mississippi Valley on Thursday. “Storms will be capable of producing tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds,” NWS stated.
The storms will also bring heavy rain that could lead to flash flooding. By Friday, the severe weather system is expected to shift over the lower Mississippi into the Tennessee Valleys before moving into the Midwest over the weekend.
Daniel Shaw, from news network Severe Weather Australia tweeted a picture of an uprooted power line and said that he was assisting the sheriff’s department in a search and rescue operation.
There is much debate among scientists on whether the climate crisis is playing a role in tornado outbreaks. Twisters are tricky to study partly because they are relatively short-lived. In the years before cell phones, data largely relied on people spotting tornadoes and calling them into the National Weather Service.
— Josh Moore (@MoorelibertyNH) May 5, 2022
However the body of research is growing. A study in 2014 from the National Severe Storms Laboratory found that in the past 50 years, clusters of tornadoes have become more common.
A separate 2018 study found that over the past four decades, America’s “Tornado Alley” appears to be shifting towards the East Coast, away from typical paths through Kansas and Oklahoma.