Severe weather threatens nearly 40 million across the South

Tornadoes leave damage in Texas as storms sweep south
Tornadoes leave damage in Texas as storms swe... 01:46

Nearly 40 million Americans across the South are facing the threat of severe storms.

Strong storms pounded the South for the second day in a row, bringing severe weather to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as hammering Texas with heavy rain, hail and several tornadoes. That zone, including Tennessee, is home to more than 11 million people. Dozens of school systems in Mississippi and Alabama dismissed students early so buses and cars would not have to be on the road during the violent weather.

"I've never seen nothing like this. It's hard to see, but somebody needed to do something," one witness said of a storm just southwest of Fort Worth, Texas.

In Waxahachie, 30 miles south of Dallas, witnesses say another tornado cut across a busy interstate, sideswiping several big rigs and forcing drivers to scramble to help people pinned by the wreckage. Eight people have been treated at the hospital for injuries. Three were drivers hospitalized, one with serious injuries, after their tractor-trailers overturned in the storms.

In addition to the injured tractor-trailer drivers, five others in Texas were hospitalized after the storm came through Ellis County.

"They were screaming and they were saying the fire department's about to come but that was like 30 minutes before the fire department came," a witness said.

After the storm barreled over the highway, it went toward a residential area. A mobile home was flipped over and the sheriff said more than three dozen homes and businesses were damaged. 

"Fortunately no human life was taken and we feel blessed for that right now," Ellis County judge Todd Little said. "Fortunately at this time, no fatalities." Little added that between 25 to 50 structures had been damaged.

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    Omar Villafranca is a CBS News correspondent based in Dallas.