IDABEL, Okla. (KTAL/KMSS) – Preliminary damage reports indicate the deadly storms that moved through parts of the ArkLaTex Friday night produced at least an EF3 tornado in East Texas and was possibly even more powerful when it crossed into McCurtain County in southeast Oklahoma and hit Idabel.

The storms killed at least two people and injured others, and left homes and buildings in ruins.

Governor Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency Saturday afternoon for McCurtain County, as well as neighboring Bryan, Choctaw and LeFlore counties.

“The state stands ready to send all the help, support, and resources southeastern Oklahoma needs to recover and rebuild from this devastating storm,” said Stitt in a statement after touring the damage in Idabel Saturday morning and issuing the disaster declaration. “Oklahomans are strong and resilient. We will build back these homes and businesses.”

According to preliminary reports, National Weather Service assessment teams have so far found high-end EF3 damage with the storm that tracked southwest of Bogata and northwest of Clarksville in Red River County, Texas, before crossing into Oklahoma.

Tornadoes are deciphered using an Enhanced Fujita scale (EF Scale). The EF Scale was developed based on damage intensity which can range from an EF-0 to an EF-5.

An EF3 tornado is classified as strong, with winds of 136-165 miles per hour, causing severe damage, including destruction to roofs and some walls torn from well-constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forested areas uprooted; heavy cars lifted and thrown.

An EF4 is classified as violent, with winds of 166-200 mph, causing devastating damage. An EF5 features winds in excess of 200 mph, causing incredible damage.

According to historical NWS data, only nine EF4 storms have been recorded in the region since 1950, and only one has been an EF5. That tornado tracked across McCurtain county near Broken Bow in 1982.

The weather service’s office in Shreveport, Louisiana, said it was assessing the damage in Oklahoma.

Weather service meteorologist Bianca Garcia in Fort Worth said while peak severe weather season typically is in the spring, tornados occasionally develop in October, November, December and even January.

“It’s not very common,” Garcia said, “but it does happen across our region.”

After touring the damage in McCurtain County Saturday morning, Gov. Stitt said on social media a 90-year-old man was killed. Keli Cain, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Emergency Management, said the man’s body was found at his home in the Pickens area of McCurtain County, about 36 miles (58 kilometers) north of Idabel.

Idabel, a rural town of about 7,000 at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, saw extensive damage.

“There are well over 100 homes and businesses damaged from minor damage to totally destroyed,” Cain said.

McCurtain County Emergency Management Director Cody McDaniel said Saturday that all the homes have been searched and they believe that everyone is accounted for as a result of the storms but urged anyone who may know someone that is not accounted for to contact the sheriff’s office or call 911.

Trinity Baptist Church in Idabel was preparing to complete a new building when the storm ripped apart their sanctuary and flattened the shell of the new structure next door, according to Pastor Don Myer.

The 250-member congregation was to vote after the Sunday service on whether to move ahead with the final work to complete the building, Myer told The Associated Press.

“But we didn’t get to that. Every vote counts and we had one vote trump us all,” Myer, 67, said. “We were right on the verge of that. That’s how close we were.”

Myer said the congregation is going to pray on what happened, see how much their insurance covers and work to rebuild. On Saturday morning, a few members of the church took an American flag that had been blown over in the storm and stood it upright amid the wreckage of the original church building.

“Our hearts go out to the communities of Idabel, Hugo, Valliant, Denison and surrounding towns following last night’s tornado,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said in a statement Saturday. “The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s crisis response team has provided resources to administrators of the impacted school districts. The agency stands ready to provide other supports as additional needs arise in this ordeal. Our prayers are with all the Oklahomans affected by this devastation and loss.”

The governor’s declaration is a step in qualifying for federal assistance and funding and clears the way for state agencies to make disaster-recovery-related purchases without limits on bidding requirements.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said damage assessments and recovery efforts are underway in northeast Texas and encouraged residents to report damage to the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

“I have deployed all available resources to help respond and recover,” Abbott said in a statement. ”I thank all of our hardworking state and local emergency management personnel for their swift response.”

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton also issued a statement Saturday.

“Choctaw Nation’s priority is to ensure the people of McCurtain County are safe and provided with relief needed,” Batton said. “Therefore, I’ve declared a State of Emergency and am coordinating with the Emergency Management Department to provide swift assistance.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.