A tornado outbreak in Texas and Oklahoma has left widespread damage and is drifting east towards Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The US National Weather Service (USNWS) warned on Monday evening that the severe storm system had already spawned several tornadoes and had the potential to create more.
Twisters have touched down in Texas, including in Jacksboro, Luling and Round Rock, as well as Kingston, Oklahoma.
The severe weather has damaged multiple homes and buildings, as well as grounding 350 flights at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and forced Texas state officials to close multiple highways.
Video footage and images showed the aftermath of the storm, with buildings destroyed, windows broken and a truck overturned.
“Several tornadoes, including the potential for a few strong tornadoes, along with very large hail and damaging winds, are expected this evening through tonight, especially across parts of central and east Texas into western Louisiana,” NWS said on Monday.
It added that the tornado risk would continue until at least Wednesday, with the area of storm danger moving up the Gulf of Mexico coast through Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South and North Carolina.
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At least four people have been injured in Texas, according to state officials.
Officials reported damage throughout Jacksboro, about 60 miles (100km) northwest of Fort Worth.
Photos posted on social media showed a storm ripped the wall and roof from parts of Jacksboro High School.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” school principal Starla Sanders told WFAA-TV in Dallas.
The storm also struck the city’s animal shelter, but the level of damage was not immediately clear.
Thirty miles (50km) northeast of Jacksboro, near Bowie, the damage was reportedly widespread, with reports of some people trapped in collapsed structures.
City manager Bert Cunningham said the worst damage was east of the town, with as many as four people trapped.
Parts of central and east Texas, including Austin and College Station areas, also had severe storms reported as tornadoes, the National Weather Service said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a news conference on Monday night in Austin that the “devastating” storms caused significant damage but the state would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with those affected, and he was thankful that there were no reports of fatalities.
Amazing @KXAN_Weather video of on the ground tornado crossing I-35 in Round Rock @ 45 just north of Austin pic.twitter.com/eJvCsYnsCN
— Evil MoPac (@EvilMopacATX) March 21, 2022
“We know there are many people whose lives have been completely disrupted and people who’ve lost their homes,” Mr Abbott said.
“At the very same time… it may be a miracle also because even though there’s been some devastating physical damage, to my knowledge, as of right now, there is no report of loss of life, which is just stunning.”