Tornadoes leave trail of death and destruction across parts of US

At least 18 people have been killed and hundreds are injured after powerful storms left a trail of destruction as they swept across parts of the central United States.

The storms, which began on Saturday evening local time and continued into Sunday, inflicted their worst damage in a region spanning from north of Dallas to the northwest corner of Arkansas.

Hundreds of thousands of people were without power across a large part of the US, including in Arkansas, Missouri and Texas on Sunday, according to the website.

Seven deaths were reported in Cooke County, Texas, near the Oklahoma border, after a tornado swept through a rural area near a mobile home park on Saturday night, Texas governor Greg Abbott said at a news conference Sunday.

Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington said two children, aged two and five, were among those who died, while numerous injuries were also reported.

He said some of the many trailer homes in the area were "completely gone", while others suffered massive damage from the storm which left a quarter of a mile-wide path of destruction for three to four miles.

"It's just a trail of debris left," he said. "The devastation is pretty severe."

Around 100 people were injured and more than 200 homes and structures were destroyed by the storms, said Mr Abbott, who was speaking from the small agricultural community of Valley View.

The area was among the hardest-hit, with winds reaching an estimated 135 mph (217kph), officials said.

Kevin Dorantes, 20, said he came across a father and son trapped under the debris and friends and neighbours worked to get them out.

"They were conscious but severely injured," he said. "The father's leg was snapped."

He said they managed to carry the father on a mattress to a truck and he and his son were driven to a nearby ambulance.

Hugo Parra said he sheltered with around 40 to 50 people in the bathroom of a truck stop near Valley View as the storm sheared the roof and walls off the building, mangling metal beams and leaving battered cars in the car park.

"The best way to describe this is the wind tried to rip us out of the bathrooms," he said.

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Storms also killed two people and destroyed houses in Oklahoma, where guests at an outdoor wedding were injured.

Meanwhile, eight people died state-wide in Arkansas, governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed at a news conference on Sunday evening.

An emergency official said two of the deaths were attributed to the circumstances of the storm but not directly caused by weather, including a person who suffered a heart attack and another who was deprived of oxygen due to a loss of electricity.

The deaths included a 26-year-old woman who was found dead outside a destroyed home in Olvey, a small community in Boone County, according to Daniel Bolen of the county's emergency management office.

One person died in Benton County, and two more bodies were found in Marion County, officials said.

Meanwhile, two people died in Kentucky - one person in Louisville and another in Mercer County, where a tree fell on a house.

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early on Monday in a post on X, citing "multiple reports of wind damage and tornadoes".

The full scale of the devastation began to come clear on Sunday morning as aerial footage showed dozens of damaged homes, many without roofs and others reduced to rubble, as residents woke up to overturned cars and collapsed garages.

In Indiana, bad weather delayed the start of the famous Indy 500 car race.

More severe weather is expected across parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee, with the National Weather Service warning of damaging winds, large hail and more tornadoes in the affected areas.

April and May have been busy periods for tornadoes, especially in the Midwest, with Iowa hit hard last week, when a deadly twister devastated Greenfield.