BROWNSVILLE, Texas (UPI) -- Hurricane Allen, reduced to a tropical storm, spawned tornadoes deep inside Texas that ripped into an airport, nursing home and camp ground of coastal residents who had fled inland from the storm's fury.
Early today, the storm -- its once-mighty 170-mph winds down to 45 mph -- was located between Laredo and Del Rio near the Texas-Mexican border, moving west-northwest into Mexico, Tornado and flash flood warnings were posted throughout south Texas and into the central Texas hill country.
Electrical power remained off in much of the Rio Grande Valley and water supplies were contaminated by salt water in many towns, including Corpus Christi.
Authorities credited the early evacuation of about 200,000 people along the 450-mile Texas coastline with keeping the death toll down. One storm related death was reported in Corpus Christi. A 72-year-old man suffered a heart attack while trimming trees that had fallen on his house during the high winds.
"We've been blessed," said Gov. Bill Clements. "There's a great difference between what we anticipated and what we received. I think we've handled it very well. But God's handled it better."
The hurricane, the second biggest storm in Atlantic history -- responsible for 109 deaths in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean -- lost intensity as it sloshed ashore Sunday with 95-mph winds and 9-foot tides in a desolate, unpopulated portion of the Texas coast north of Brownsville.
The storm, however, spawned tornadoes in a half dozen towns from the coast up to San Marcos, Texas -- 150 miles inland -- where 12 people were hospitalized after a twister slashed through a camp ground of trailer homes, a nursing home and an apartment complex. No deaths, but a total of 20 injuries, were reported.
Fred Edwards of Corpus Christi said he had pulled his 40-foot travel trailer from the coast to San Marcos to escape the hurricane threat with his wife and 19-year-old son, only to have it smashed at the camp ground.
Edwards said he pulled his son back inside their trailer just before the tornado hit. He found his wife, who had fled to the bathroom when she felt the trailer sinking, under a mass of bathroom fixtures that had fallen on her and lacerated her legs.
He had to pull plumbing out of the walls with his bare hands to get her out.
"I had to tear through the walls to get to her," he said. "We lost everything."
Two wings of a San Marcos nursing home were destroyed and the roof was ripped from patients' rooms by the twister. A 12,000-pound air conditioner was flung across the grounds, briefing cutting open a natural gas pipe.
About 140 of the nursing home patients were taken to Southwest Texas State University gym. Of those, 47 had been evacuated from a Port Lavaca nursing home because of the hurricane.
Another tornado raked the Austin airport.