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Storms Kill 2 in Texas as Severe Weather Moves East

Tornadoes pummeled towns in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas on Saturday night, as storms across the Southern Plains killed at least two people, damaged homes, overturned trucks and left more than 300,000 households without power.

The severe weather was moving east on Sunday morning. More than 19 million people were in an area with an “enhanced” risk of severe weather, and more than one million people were under a tornado watch in parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee early Sunday.

In northern Texas on Saturday, a tornado left at least two dead and multiple people injured, said Ray Sappington, the sheriff of Cooke County. The force of it overturned semitrailer trucks and motor homes and damaged a marina in Denton County, according to a briefing from county authorities.

Emergency responders had rescued some people who were trapped, and they were searching homes for others, authorities said. The exact number of injured people was not yet known, the county said. A Shell truck stop in Cooke County was also severely damaged, trapping people inside after the storm passed.

“There has been heavy damage that we can tell,” Justin Stamps, the police chief of Valley View, a city north of Dallas, said in an email, adding that the town was in the early stages of rescue operations.

In Oklahoma, a tornado downed trees and power lines, leaving some roads inaccessible and cutting off electricity, the authorities in Rogers County said on social media. Power was out in Claremore, a city about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa, and would remain so “for an extended period of time,” according the city’s police department. “There is a lot of damage from tonight’s storm,” the police said.

In Arkansas, police officers were responding to people trapped after a tornado caused gas leaks and downed trees and power lines, cutting off electricity in large parts of the city of Rogers, the local police department said.

“There has been some structural damage to some businesses and residences,” Keith Foster, a spokesman for the Rogers police department, said in an email. At least three businesses had major damage, he said, and local gas companies were responding to an “overwhelming” amount of calls over gas leaks.

Emergency service lines were “inundated” with calls, the sheriff’s office in Benton County, which includes Rogers and Decatur, said on social media, and crews were working to clear blocked roads.

In all, more than 320,000 customers were without power in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas early Sunday morning, according to the site PowerOutage.us, which tracks utilities information across the country.

In Texas, the tornado threat had diminished by Sunday morning, the National Weather Service in Fort Worth said.

Still, many areas of the Great Plains were bracing for more severe weather. Parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee on Sunday could see large hail, damaging winds and possibly more strong tornadoes on Sunday.

The United States has come under an onslaught of destructive storms in the past week, with at least a few reports of tornadoes each day.

Five people died and part of a city was obliterated in Iowa on Tuesday after the southwestern part of the state was swallowed by a system that produced a powerful tornado that carved a 43-mile path and packed winds of at least 185 miles per hour.

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