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Tornado wreaks havoc in Texas as record-breaking heat wave looms

A tornado tore through central Texas on Wednesday night, causing massive damage and destroying homes, as forecasters warn of a potentially record-breaking heat wave in the state.

The city of Temple, northeast of Austin, declared a state of emergency and opened a shelter for displaced people after a tornado caused widespread devastation.

Cars were overturned, power lines destroyed and entire buildings toppled in Temple, according to footage posted by NBC affiliate KXAN of Austin. There were no reports of deaths or injuries there or in the broader Bell County area, which was also hit by severe storms.

Images posted on social media show buildings in Temple and nearby Belton with no roofs, piles of rubble and broken windows.

Flood warnings were in effect Thursday morning for much of North Texas, including Dallas and Fort Worth, along with parts of Oklahoma. Severe storm warnings also continue through Thursday.

More than 110,000 power customers were without power as of 6 a.m. Thursday, as were nearly 20,000 in Louisiana, according to the power connection tracking website PowerOutage.us.

The destructive weather comes as Texas faces a heat wave that could break 100-year records: The National Weather Service said the south of the state could see temperatures of more than 115 degrees over the weekend. The record for Austin for May is 104, recorded in 1925.

“Record or near-record warm temperatures overnight will provide little or no relief to those without adequate or reliable cooling,” the agency said in a forecast early Thursday.

Severe heat warnings were issued for hundreds of thousands of people across South Texas from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. local time (2 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET).

“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check on family members and neighbors. Small children and pets should never be left alone in vehicles under any circumstances,” the weather service office said. from Austin. and Saint Anthony warned.

In a chaotic week in an extraordinary tornado season, at least four people have been confirmed dead as a result of extreme weather in Iowa, when a tornado devastated the town of Greenfield.