HOUSTON, April 27 (Xinhua) -- A severe storm system hit the central and southern United States Sunday, spawning powerful tornadoes and killing as many as 11 people in Arkansas and Oklahoma, U.S. media reported.
The storm swept across the midwest, central and southern parts of the country Sunday afternoon. More than a dozen tornadoes formed and touched down in several states including Arkansas and Oklahoma, which are the most devastated areas.
A total of 10 people were confirmed dead in Arkansas, according to local TV KTHV. Matt DeCample, a spokesman for the Governor's office, told the media earlier the tornado killed four people in Faulkner County, three people in Pulaski County and one person in White County. But the Faulkner County Sheriffs Office said later at least six people were confirmed dead and the toll is expected to rise.
The tornado ripped through the area at around 7 p.m. CST and continued creating destruction for more than an hour, the report said. An interstate highway was shut down due to multiple wrecks, including overturned trucks and destroyed vehicles.
Homes in several towns are flattened, according to Sheriff Andy Shock with the Faulkner County Sheriffs Office. Emergency crew members are scouring the area for people.
In Oklahoma, a tornado touched down in Quapaw, a small town around 320 km northeast of Oklahoma city, the state's capital city late Sunday, the Oklahoman reported.
Media reports said earlier at least two have died, but an official later confirmed one was dead and six others were injured. The injuries were believed to be non-life-threatening.
Meteorologists said the tornado developed extremely fast and went from a thundershower to a storm with rotation in minutes, which didn't provide much time for warning.
Local TV footage showed the tornado appeared to have ripped a path through the town center. More than a dozen building were completely destroyed in the area and dozens of others had major damage.