LANCASTER, Texas - After touring the tornado-ravaged Lancaster area on Thursday morning Gov. praised the city's emergency first responders and average Texans he said acted heroically in the face of the storms.Perry got an aerial view of the area, in which he said possibly 2,500 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, and said the outcome of Tuesday's tornado outbreak could have been worse.
"Standing here in the rubble of these homes and people's irreplaceable treasures … strewn across the roads and in their yards … we do need to thank the Lord that it could have been worse," Perry said. "The reason it wasn't worse is because of these local first responders and how they dealt with this."
In fact, the governor said the Lone Star State is tops when it comes to disaster response.
"There is no one better than Texas at dealing with emergencies. Our first responders are the best in the country," Perry said.
However, he also praised the survival stories of average citizens he said acted valiantly in the face of the storm.
" A grandmother who saved her child from, literally, the grasp of this tornado . The Lancaster pastor who moved dozens of children out of harm's way into an area and save lives," Perry said. "Just a couple of folks we put in the category of hero."
Perry said the survival stories were "just another example of Texans helping Texans."
The governor vowed to act "very quickly" to handle aid requests from all areas impacted by the tornadoes.
"Trust me," he said. "It won’t be spending any time on a desk in Austin."
Still, Perry said, recovery won’t happen overnight.
"It's going to take a little while. In some cases we'll never be back to normal," he said.
Texas' EMS chief, Nim Kidd, echoed the governor's sentiments, calling the emergency response "flawless" and the "hallmark of success."
He also said first responders would use the event to further improve.
"We need to take these opportunities as focusing events because they create windows of opportunity. The message needs to go out that all cities and all communities need to be as prepared as this one was," Kidd said.
DALLAS - After folks in several North Texas cities assess the damage from the tornadoes, many will be eager to start repairs or rebuilding. For those with no damage, take the time to update your whole-hose inventory. Go from room to room taking pictures and documenting your possessions. When the day comes when you have to make an insurance claim, the proof is going to come in handy.
DALLAS - At least 16 tornadoes tore across North Texas during Tuesday's severe weather outbreak, according to the National Weather Service.
The NWS reports that the twisters were spawned, in part, because of a cold front clashing with very warm, unstable air across our region.
Here's the list of confirmed tornadoes so far by strength, according to the NWS:
Confirmation of further tornadoes could be forthcoming, the NWS said....