In the early hours of Monday, May 25, 2015, a tornado struck a small city on the U.S.-Mexico border, killing 13 people and injuring at least 230 more. The tornado ravaged Ciudad Acuna, in the Coahuila state, which is home to over 125,000 people. People were seen running through the streets to seek shelter in their homes or other buildings as the storm came closer.
The aftermath of the tornado left carnage throughout the streets of Acuna. Destroyed buildings, ripped up trees, and overturned cars now line the once-busy market strips and malls. Photographs from the damage caused by the tornado showed mangled vehicles flipped up on top of one-story houses. Small children were seen running through the battle-stricken streets, while parents tried to search for their loved ones. One report states that an infant was ripped from its mother’s arms as the twister advanced closer; the child is still missing.
As the storm cell passed through Acuna, residents went back to their homes to search through the rubble for valuables and other belongings the could salvage. Residents in tattered clothing were seen carrying suitcases and bags filled with clothes and a few essentials.
According to Mexican officials, the tornado mainly hit in an area of the town of around seven blocks, demolishing the neighborhood. Luis Felipe Puente, the head of Mexico’s national civil defense agency, stated that at least 230 people have been injured. First responders and relief authorities have entered the town and are currently setting up shelters to aid the people who have been displaced because of this tragic event. Currently, all utilities in the area are out of service. There are seven refuge sites scattered throughout the areas that were hit.
First responders and other rescue authorities have been searching all day through the wreckage and rubble of critically damaged homes in case more victims may still be stuck inside. There are reports of a few people missing; though, there has yet to be an official report on the matter.
Other photos taken by those at the scene show boards thrust into the ground from the high winds, a bus was seen crumpled up on the highway. It was troublesome getting the much needed relief aid into the area due to the carnage in the streets.
Officials from the Mexican government stated the wind speed of the tornado was over 124 mph, traveling and 31 mph, leaving a trail of destruction for over seven blocks. Mayor Evaristo Lenin Perez of Cuidad Acuna commented that the city has never experienced a tornado in its 110-year history. A spokesman for the National Meteorological Service stated the Acuna tornado was the strongest in the last 15 years in Mexico. According to preliminary reports, the tornado would be rated between an EF2 and EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
As of now, the death toll stands at 13, with those injured at 230. Perez stated most of those who were killed were outside when the storm hit, those in their homes were able to ride out the tornado. Mexico’s civil service is now making its way into the town to clear the crumpled cars, blown out walls, and downed power lines. Rescue authorities are still attempting to sift through the debris in the streets and inside of crumbling homes to find those who are still unaccounted for.
By Alex Lemieux
Reuters: Tornado tears through Mexican city on Texas border, killing 13
NBC News: Mexico Border City Tornado Leaves 13 Dead, 230 Injured
Twitter: El_Universal – Fuerte tornado impacta Ciudad Acuña, deja destrozos y al menos 10 muertos.
Photo Courtesy of Niccolò Ubalducci’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License