Severe storms sweeping across southern portions of the USA were blamed Saturday in the deaths of at least 10 people, including two first responders, as high winds, tornadoes and unrelenting rain battered a large area of the region.
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana said an elderly couple died on Friday, when a tornado destroyed their mobile home, carrying it some 200ft (61m) from its foundations. A search for more possible victims was under way.
Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power from Texas to OH, and parts of highways were closed in Oklahoma and Arkansas due to flooding. The area included several major Texas cities including Dallas, Houston and Austin. Some storms also could produce large hail.
Of the victims, a police officer and a firefighter were killed in Lubbock, Texas on Saturday morning, with another critically injured, after they were hit by a auto while responding to a traffic accident, Xinhua news agency reported. A man drowned near Kiowa, Oklahoma, after he was swept away in floodwaters, the Oklahoma highway patrol said on Saturday.
Shortly before 3 p.m., a tornado stripped the shingles from the roof of a home near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa.
No injuries were reported in the area either.
Hurricane-force wind gusts, golf-ball-sized hail and five to 13 centimetres of snow fell on Friday night and early Saturday as storms pushed from Texas through the southeast and Great Lakes into Maine.
The NWS in Birmingham said via Twitter the three deaths in Alabama occurred in Pickens county, and that an "embedded tornado within a long line of intense thunderstorms" was the cause of the deaths. Downed trees and power lines were widespread.
Miller said the tornado skirted her home in Subiaco, Arkansas. The bad weather stretched from Texas through the southeast and Great Lakes into ME, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
Ahead of the raging storms, Dallas' Office of Emergency Management asked residents to bring in anything "that could be caught up in high winds to reduce the risk of flying debris".
Meteorologists believe such a drastic forecast for the area is issued two to four times each year, on average.
Get The Brief. Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now.. Alabama, Georgia and areas near St. Louis, Missouri, experienced 4 or more inches of rain in 48 hours, forecasters say.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey praised the state's first responders in a statement Sunday expressing grief over the deaths.