A powerful storm system rumbled through the central and southern United States on Sunday, creating massive tornadoes that caused damage to buildings and vehicles and left at least seven people dead in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Reuters reported that rescue workers were still searching for survivors.
Two people were killed in Vilonia, a small town in central Arkansas of some 3,800 people, the report said. More victims are likely to be found in the rubble of ruined buildings, it added.
A spokesman for the Faulkner County Sheriff’s office said there was a “mass casualty situation.”
A person also died in a tornado that hit Mayflower, 22 miles (35 km) northwest of Little Rock, at about 7:30 p.m., officials said. Three others were killed in western Pulaski County, according to the sheriff’s department.
At least another person was killed by a separate tornado in Oklahoma. Media and the National Weather Service reported that two people were killed.
The tornado in Arkansas stayed on the ground as it moved northeastward for at least 30 miles (48 kilometers). Tornadoes also touched down in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.
Tornado watches were in effect for New Mexico in west to Tennessee in east. The storm system produced storms that were moving through the region in waves.
According to the Associated Press, watches were also issued for Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas and Louisiana.
Weather forecasters say the risk of tornadoes continues on Monday and Tuesday.