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Powerful, deadly storm system sweeps across Midwest

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Emergency officials say one person was killed and four others were injured in in southwestern Arkansas as a powerful storm system marched across that state, Texas and Oklahoma.

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Rick Fahr says the death and injuries occurred early Monday when the storms destroyed a home near Ashdown, or about 150 miles southwest of Little Rock.

Thousands of people were left without power by the storm system, reports CBS affiliate KTHV in Little Rock.

Entergy Arkansas reported 7,274 outages late Monday morning. Also, First Electric Cooperative reports a few dozen customers are without power.

The Storm Prediction Center estimates more than 36 million people are in the path of damaging winds, possible tornadoes and heavy rainfall Monday. Forecasters say the greatest risk is along the Mississippi River from extreme southern Illinois to northern Louisiana. Cities at risk for the nasty weather include Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Houston; Indianapolis; New Orleans and St. Louis. Widespread flash flooding is also expected in many areas as the storms dump heavy rainfall in a short period of time.

By late afternoon Monday, there had been reports of tornado sightings near St. Louis and in northern Louisiana, although none have been confirmed yet.

In Texas, lightning is suspected in a fire that set ablaze an oil well site near Longview. Thousands of homes and businesses lost electricity in parts of North Texas.

Downed trees were reported in parts of northern Louisiana.

The soggy weather also delayed Monday's opening time of the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock, which has seen dismal attendance numbers in its first three days because of the rain.

Late Sunday, damaging winds knocked out electricity and overturned trucks on Interstate 40 in western Oklahoma as powerful thunderstorms came through the state. A portion of the interstate in Oklahoma was shut down briefly on Monday morning so crews could clear a downed power line but it was reopened by midday.

The storms began their path Sunday across Oklahoma, downing power lines and overturning tractor-trailers along Interstate 40.

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