A twister has killed at least 13 people in northern Mexico, while a dozen people are missing in flash floods just over the border in Texas.The tornado struck Ciudad Acuna, on the border with Texas, on Monday morning, damaging hundreds of buildings and smashing vehicles.
Rescue workers are digging through the rubble in a race to find victims, including a baby missing after being ripped from its mother’s arms.
Three hundred people were taken to hospital and 400 houses were either razed or badly damaged, said officials.
“Most of the dead are people who were outside, not people who were inside their homes,” said the city’s Mayor Evaristo Lenin Perez.
At least four people are dead in Texas and Oklahoma, meanwhile, following record rainfall that has also destroyed hundreds of homes and forced over 2,000 people to flee.
In central Texas, Laura McComb, 33, and her two young sons are among 12 people missing after their holiday home was swept into the raging river on Sunday, then disintegrated upon striking a bridge.
Her husband, Jonathan McComb, 36, narrowly survived, but is being treated in hospital with multiple injuries.
Five others who were staying at the same property are also missing.
The Blanco River rose 26ft (8m) in just an hour, authorities said, washing away up to 400 homes in the town of Wimberley, Texas.
The river’s level has topped 40ft – more than triple its flood stage of 13ft and far exceeding its previous record of 33.3ft.
Describing the scene, Hays County emergency management co-ordinator Kharley Smith said: “We do have whole streets with maybe one or two houses left on them and the rest are just slabs.”
In the nearby city of San Marcos, people were ordered to evacuate their homes on Sunday morning as flood waters rose quickly around them.
Several cars and trucks were submerged, and some people used inflatable lounge chairs to float down the street, in surreal scenes.
The city, which cancelled Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony, said it had opened temporary shelters for residents who could not return home.
In Claremore, Oklahoma, firefighter Jason Farley died when he was swept away while trying to rescue 10 people in high water.
The body of a Texas man was recovered from a flooded area along the Blanco River, authorities said.
Alyssa Ramirez, 18, died driving home on Saturday from her high school’s prom, after her car got stuck in floodwater, KSAT reports.
And also on Saturday, a 33-year-old woman in Tulsa died when her vehicle hydroplaned.
The extreme weather also led to thunderstorms knocking out power to more than 8,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The National Weather Service has warned more wild weather is expected.
Strong to severe thunderstorms are forecast across a large stretch of the central and southern plains toward the Mississippi River Valley and flash flooding is expected from central Iowa into southern Texas.
Oklahoma meteorologists say the rainfall could at a single stroke end the drought that has gripped the region for years, because many lakes and reservoirs are now full.