At least 20 dead across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas in severe storms

Across the five states affected, 25 tornadoes were reported.

Severe storms over the weekend led to the deaths of at least 20 people across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas, according to The Associated Press and Arkansas state officials.

At least 25 tornadoes were reported across five states, according to officials.

Texas hit hard

Seven people died in Texas and more than 100 were injured as the severe weather swept through the state, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference Sunday evening.

Abbott said 106 counties in Texas were under disaster declarations.

More than 200 homes or structures were destroyed and another 120 were damaged, Texas officials said.

Video shows Cooke County residents hiding in a Shell gas station as a tornado hit the area Saturday night, according to Dallas-Fort Worth ABC affiliate WFAA. The tornado begins to tear apart the building with residents scrambling for safety.

No one inside the gas station was killed, according to WFAA.

Abbott mourned those who were killed in the storms, saying, "There's only one thing that cannot be rebuilt, and that's a loss of life -- That's why we always stress to everybody, whatever you do in any type of storm, put life first."

A 2-year-old and a 5-year-old from the same family were killed in Cooke County, Texas, officials said. The children were among the seven people who were killed in the area, which is north of Dallas, the Cooke County Sheriff's Office told the AP on Sunday.

The tornado that battered Cooke County was preliminarily rated an EF-2 with winds up to 135 mph.

PHOTO: An employee of a body shop collects tools near damage the morning after a tornado hit, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas.
An employee of a body shop collects tools near damage the morning after a tornado hit, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas.
Julio Cortez/AP

The storm tore through a roadside travel center near Valley View, Texas, before continuing through a community of manufactured homes, according to Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington.

More than 60 people were injured, he told WFAA.

Most of those fatalities occurred at the nearby FRF Estates in Valley View, a community of manufactured homes about 60 miles northwest of Dallas, according to Sappington.

He said emergency response crews were combing the development for survivors Sunday morning amid "major damage."

PHOTO: Tornado damaged homes are seen in Valley View, Texas, May 26, 2024.
Tornado damaged homes are seen in Valley View, Texas, May 26, 2024.
WFAA
PHOTO: Damage is seen at a truck stop the morning after a tornado rolled through, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas.
Damage is seen at a truck stop the morning after a tornado rolled through, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas.
Julio Cortez/AP

Sappington said another hard-hit area was the Gateway AP Travel Center in Valley View, where many people pulled off the road to seek shelter in the parking lot or in the truck stop's restrooms. Sappington said 60 to 80 people were injured at the facility.

"The storm has caused significant damage to numerous homes and businesses, including the Gateway AP Travel Center, which received major damage," the Cooke County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Sunday morning. "Emergency services are actively searching the debris for missing persons, and there have been numerous injuries of varying degrees reported."

PHOTO: Tornado damaged homes are seen in Valley View, Texas, May 26, 2024.
Tornado damaged homes are seen in Valley View, Texas, May 26, 2024.
WFAA

Sappington warned people to stay away from the storm-damaged areas as emergency crews searched for survivors and cleared roads of debris.

"It would really help if people just stayed away right now, gave us a few hours to get our search and rescue done," Sappington said. "I know some people were out of the area and trying to get back, but it's dangerous out there. Power lines are down. There have been reports of gas leaks. It's just dangerous right now. Just give us some time to do what we need to do. We're trying to still rescue people. The best thing people can do right now is give us a little time."

PHOTO: Tornado damaged homes are seen in Valley View, Texas, May 26, 2024.
Tornado damaged homes are seen in Valley View, Texas, May 26, 2024.
WFAA
PHOTO: A man looks at a damaged car after a tornado hit the day before, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas.
A man looks at a damaged car after a tornado hit the day before, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas.
Julio Cortez/AP

Meanwhile, a landslide closed both directions of Highway 340 in Bella Vista, Arkansas, according to the Bella Vista Police Department. The highway was closed after the ground underneath the roadway was washed out by heavy rains and "compromised the road surface," police said.

2 killed in Arkansas, officials say

Arkansas officials said at least two people were killed when a possible tornado hit early Sunday morning. One person was found dead in Benton County in the northwest part of the state, and a 26-year-old woman was discovered dead outside a destroyed home in Olvey in Boone County, officials said.

In addition to the two deaths, several people were injured in Benton County, Barry Moehring, a Benton County judge, said during a news conference.

At least one possible tornado ripped through the Benton County town of Decatur and two others appeared to touch down near Beaver Lake, Moehring said.

Numerous trees and powerlines were knocked down in the storm and powerful straight-line winds also caused significant damage in Bentonville, where part of the courthouse was destroyed, Moehring said.

He said emergency crews were responding to reports of people trapped in the rubble.

Police in Rogers, Arkansas, also in Benton County, posted photos Sunday on Facebook showing widespread damage in downtown Rogers. The Rogers Police Department said emergency teams were searching for survivors and assessing the damage.

"All our major streets have trees or are closed, and we are still responding and trying to get to calls. Too many cars on the streets hamper our response," the Rogers Police Department said in a Facebook post asking people not to drive around barricades.

2 deaths in Oklahoma

At least two people were killed when a possible tornado hit Pryor, Oklahoma, about 45 miles east of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told Tulsa ABC affiliate KTUL.

Tornado watch issued from Washington, D.C., to North Carolina

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for portions of the District Of Columbia, central and eastern Maryland, eastern and northern Virginia, and central and eastern North Carolina until 11 p.m. Monday.

PHOTO: Severe weather alerts.
ABC News

"Damaging winds are expected to be the most common risk, but some hail is possible, and a moist environment and strong atmospheric winds will also support a tornado risk," the NWS said.

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