Shelby Van Sickle pauses while trying to salvage personal items in the family home that was destroyed after a tornado touched down overnight in Van, Texas, on May 11, 2015.
Photo by Larry W. Smith/EPA

Van, Texas, and Nashville, Arkansas, hit by suspected tornadoes

Updated

At least 10 people were unaccounted for early Monday after a tornado damaged about 30% of an East Texas city, authorities said early Monday. A total of three others were confirmed dead in the state and neighboring Arkansas.

Up to 50 million Americans from Texas to Michigan were bracing Monday for a band of thunderstorms and severe weather stretching down the country’s midsection. At least 26 tornadoes were reported on Sunday.

Two deaths were confirmed at a mobile home park in Nashville, Arkansas — an area which experienced “lots of flooding and strong winds,” Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Rick Fahr said. A tornado warning had been issued for the area around 1:20 a.m. local time (2:20 a.m. ET) on Monday.

A third person died in flooding in the city of Corsicana, Texas, after more than 10 inches of rain fell in the area in just about five hours.

At least 26 people were also hospitalized when a tornado ripped through Van, Texas, causing “heavy damage” on Sunday, Smith County Emergency Management spokesman Keith Tate said. Van is a city of 2,600 people about 73 miles east of Dallas.

“Damages range from completely destroyed homes, damaged homes, to trees and power lines down,” added Chuck Allen, emergency management coordinator for Van Zandt County. He told reporters early Monday that 10 people remained unaccounted for.

A street sign at the intersection of Hwy 377 and Mosscreek Drive lies on the ground after a possible tornado touched down in the Bent Creek Estates neighborhood in Denton, Texas, on May 10, 2015. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS/Getty)
A street sign at the intersection of Hwy 377 and Mosscreek Drive lies on the ground after a possible tornado touched down in the Bent Creek Estates neighborhood in Denton, Texas, on May 10, 2015.
Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS/Getty

Nick Willkillurson, an 18-year-old student at Van High School, said the damage in the area was “horrible.”

He told NBC News there were “trees uprooted and windows broken out of the school. The tennis courts were completely gone.”

Around 100 local people had taken shelter in a local church and had been ordered not to leave, according to NBC station KETK.

Officials repeatedly requested people stay away from the damaged area to let rescue worker do their jobs.

Speaking to KETK, Van resident Chris Duwe described the moments the tornado hit.

“As soon as we opened the door up, boom, it was right there. Loud winds, high winds, rain,” he added. “And as soon as we got us and the dogs in the bathroom, and closed that door, bam, the house was gone.”

Emergency workers spent early Monday going door to door in search of other victims.

“Once we get daylight, we will be able to identify areas that are affected and lead responders in to verify the [houses] are clear of any individuals needing medical attention,” Allen said.

The severe weather struck the Texas city around 8:45 p.m. local time (9:45 p.m. ET). At 6:10 a.m. ET, approximately 28,040 people were without power across the state.

The area also saw heavy rains and widespread flash flooding. Two groups of people had to be airlifted to safety on Sunday, authorities in Denton County said.

Elsewhere, more than 100 people were in a high school in Lake City, Iowa, when a tornado hit the building, NBC station WHO-HD reported. “Most of the roof of the building was torn off,” witness Austin Jacobs added. “There was debris everywhere.”

According to The Weather Channel’s Kevin Roth, tornadoes remained a hazard on Monday with coastal Texas, including Houston, staying under a tornado warning until noon local time (1 p.m. ET), he said.

“Anywhere from eastern Texas up to southern Michigan there is a threat of tornadoes in the mid-to-late afternoon,” Roth added.

A rare May snowstorm that brought more than a foot of snow to parts of South Dakota and Wyoming was set to end by Monday morning, according to forecasters.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Ana was also set to continue drenching North Carolina. Meteorologists warned that minor flooding was possible.

NBC News’ Alexander Smith and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared on NBC News

Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas and Weather

Van, Texas, and Nashville, Arkansas, hit by suspected tornadoes

Updated