Rescuers searched for survivors Sunday and authorities canvassed the damage after tornadoes and severe flooding killed at least seven people in four states.
Also Sunday, the storm claimed its first fatality in Mississippi as it continued east, bringing the total of known dead to seven.The fatalities began on Saturday:
Four were killed when at least three tornadoes touched down in east Texas, Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett said. Van Zandt County officials initially said at least five people had died. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.
The body of a 72-year-old woman was recovered after floodwater washed away her car in southwestern Missouri.
Another woman died after a tree fell on her mobile home in De Witt, Arkansas, about 80 miles east of Little Rock.
Tornadoes that ripped through north Texas left widespread destruction and more than 50 people injured, officials said.
More than 30 million Americans remain under flash flood watches and warnings Sunday as the storm system moves eastward. It began hitting Southwest and Midwest states Friday.
Rainfall amounts of 4-6 inches were reported in Missouri and Texas, with some areas seeing up to 9 inches, the National Weather Service said.
In Texas, ‘heartbreaking’ devastation
At least three tornadoes touched down east of Dallas, the weather service said.
The storm struck around 6:20 p.m. (7:20 p.m. ET) Saturday causing widespread damage about 60 miles east of Dallas in Van Zandt and Henderson counties, according to the weather service.
County officials said the number of dead could go up as search and rescue efforts continue. “The damage is extensive,” Everett said Sunday morning. She had not yet been able to tour all of the affected areas.
“It is heartbreaking and upsetting, to say the least,” the mayor said.
The storm left a path of destruction 15 miles wide and authorities on Sunday were not allowing people into some parts of Canton. The weather hampered rescue efforts Saturday night, but they will continue Sunday and include the use of dogs with searchers going door to door.
“We’re still in the search and rescue aspect of this disaster,” Van Zandt County Judge Don Kirkpatrick said.
He urged people to stay away, even those trying to help, because of the danger of downed power lines.
Cars ‘tossed around like toys’
Reporter J.D. Miles of CNN affiliate TV station KTVT said huge tree limbs had been blown onto roads, blocking them. Vehicles on a lot were “tossed around like toys,” he said.
At least 55 patients were taken to ETMC Regional Healthcare System, hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Berkley said. One was in critical condition, and the other patients’ injuries were not life-threatening.
Multiple ambulances were at the site of the tornadoes while the search and rescue efforts continued, Berkley said. First responders from across the state continued Sunday to comb through overturned cars and destroyed homes.
Canton High School was used as a triage center.
‘I’ve never seen so much damage’
“The tornado hit only a mile from my house,” said Hayley Herron, 17, who has lived in the town for five years. “The damages were horrible. Power lines and fences torn down over the roads, my friends’ homes destroyed, there were buildings completely gone. Trees were split and thrown across pastures.”
“I’ve never seen so much damage before,” she said.
“This morning I know most everyone is still in shock at the damage and how horrible the night was for all of us.”
Crowds attending First Monday Trade Days, one of the largest outdoor collectibles markets in the US, were forced to take shelter in bathrooms, CNN affiliate KLTV reported.
Preliminary reports show tornadoes touched down in several north Texas towns.
A team will survey the damage on Sunday to determine the intensity of the tornadoes.
Fort Worth resident Cliff Henthorn was in Canton for the First Monday event.
“We saw the the tornado drop out of the sky,” he said. “This was crazy. It completely looks like a can opener opened this truck right in front of me. There are trees that are 100 years old that are snapped completely in half like twigs. ”
Missouri governor: ‘Stay home. Stay safe’
In Durant, one person died Sunday near Durant after storms passed through the state.
The weather was also blamed for damaged homes, downed trees and power lines across Mississippi. Authorities there blamed the weather for one death — but no details about the fatality were immediately available.
Storms began Friday around the state, bringing heavy rain and causing flooding, the weather service said.
A couple was left stranded in their car when flood waters began to rise in Christian County, officials said.
Despite the man’s efforts to rescue his wife, their car was swept away with the 72-year-old woman inside. The woman’s body was found Saturday in a field near Clever, Missouri.
At least 150 roads, mostly in southern Missouri, were closed by flooding, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.
A total of 93 evacuations and 33 water rescues were reported Saturday, Gov. Eric Greitens said.
“Our standing first responders are working to protect life and property in this storm. Grateful for their work. Stay home. Stay safe,” he wrote on Twitter.
There have been no reports of any injuries or death in Oklahoma.
Storms that rolled through Oklahoma brought straight-line winds, hail, and severe flooding.
The arch at the State Fairgrounds was knocked down due to the storms.
Trees fell on top of cars and homes across the state.
Multiple highways closed due to flooding and debris in the roadway.
Oklahoma’s panhandle saw nearly 4 inches of snow.
Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties.