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Tornado Impacts Caddo Mounds Historic Site Near Alto, Texas

Courtesy: Caddo Mounds State Historic Site

CADDO MOUNDS TORNADO -  Last  Saturday, tornados hit East Texas and impacted the Red River Radio listening area.  There was widespread damage,  many people were injured and fatalities were reported. Saturday, a  celebration of  Caddo Culture  was taking place at Caddo Mounds State Historical Site near Alto. Texas but  midway through the event,  a tornado hit the site . Our East Texas Reporter, Wynter Chauvin has more.

Last Saturday, April 13, approximately a hundred people were celebrating Caddo Culture at the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site outside Alto, TX, when two tornados, an EF-2  and an EF-3, two hours apart plowed through the area. The second tornado directly hit the Caddo Mounds site. Many people had sought 

Credit Courtesy: Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
Courtesy: Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
DESTROYED BY TORNADO - This photo shows the Caddo shelter before it was destroyed by the EF-3 tornado that hit the site during the Caddo Culture Celebration on April 13, 2019.

shelter in the museum. The museum collapsed upon impact trapping adults and children under the rubble and debris  Survivors at the site helped each other,  by digging people out and tending to the injured, for it took 3 hours for first responders to get through to the site. Four people were air-lifted  to hospitals in Tyler and Conroe. The Cherokee County sheriff’s office confirmed that a woman flown to a Tyler hospital died as a result of her injuries Sunday morning.  The Caddo Mounds State Historic site will be closed until further notice due to the damage.  CC Conn, a survivor and member of the Friends of the Caddo Mounds, believes the site will open again.

“I don’t want us to hesitate to rebuild everything we did because it was," Conn explained. "It was deserving and in the last five years they’ve built that new museum and the grass house and stuff. And I want it back, you know I just want us to raise up and bring it back.”

Credit Courtesy: weathermodels.com
Courtesy: weathermodels.com
SEVERE WEATHER - Radar imaging taken from Saturday afternoon April 13, 2019 show severe storm cells moving across east Texas, southern Arkansas and north Louisiana.

The National Weather Service in Shreveport has surveyed  the  damage  from  the  two confirmed tornadoes that struck Houston, Cherokee, Rusk and Nacogdoches Counties.  -  Mario Valverde  is the  meterologist in charge and offers these details.

"The entire length of that storm was in excess of 40 miles, probably pushing 50 miles in length," Valverde explained. "The intensity that we've seen in there (Alto tornado) probably a rating of EF-3, we're still looking at that because there's some significant damage."

The fatalities reported  include  Two children who were killed in Angelina County when a tree fell on the car their parents were driving.  A woman injured at 

Credit Courtesy: Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
Courtesy: Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
TORNADO DAMAGE - East Texas tornadoes left scores of damaged vehicles, buildings, and toppled trees over a 4 county area on Saturday, April 13,2019.

the Caddo Mounds Historic Site near Alto, Texas died as a result of her injuries.  And the body of a Houston county woman was found 150 yards from her home. The National Weather Service predicts more severe weather  for the Red River Radio listening area late Wednesday and most of Thursday.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.