One person is dead after a tornado ripped through the Dallas area late Sunday and storms hit surrounding southern states, damaging homes and businesses, and knocking out electricity to tens of thousands of people.

The Benton County Department of Public Safety in Arkansas said the death was the result of a tree falling on a home at about 12:30 a.m. local time Monday in Rogers, 240 kilometres northwest of Little Rock. Gov. Asa Hutchinson confirmed the fatality, saying “significant storm damage” occurred in northwest Arkansas.

Power was out at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Highfill. Airport officials said flights were still departing, though security screenings were being done manually.

After the Dallas-area tornado, damage was also reported in the northeast corner of the state.

In Texas, rescue crews in Dallas searched through the rubble of buildings torn apart by a tornado that tore through the city the night before. 

Radar confirmed the tornado hit the ground near Love Field Airport and moved northeast through Dallas on Sunday at around 9 p.m. local time, National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Jason Godwin said.

Jason Evans, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesperson, said three people were hospitalized for evaluation of non-life-threatening injuries on Monday morning.

The storms also caused damage in Oklahoma as the system moved to the northeast early Monday.

Tornado warnings were in effect Monday morning in far eastern Arkansas near the Mississippi River as the storm system moved to the east. The Storm Prediction Centre in Norman, Okla., said Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee could see severe thunderstorms later Monday.

Heavy damage was reported in northwest Dallas and Richardson. Nearly 140,000 electric customers were without power as of 4 a.m. local time Monday, according to Oncor’s online outage map. The electric utility said storms across East Texas had caused significant damage to power lines.

Around 65,000 of the affected electric customers were within Dallas, according to the city, which said it would open a shelter.

Damage to the Dallas-based radio station KNON-FM radio station studio is seen after a tornado touched down in the city on Sunday. (Lew Morris via AP)

Crews searched through homes and businesses that were accessible for about six hours overnight, but were hampered by “limited access and lack of proper lighting,” Evans said. A second set of teams were to resume search efforts in daylight.

Seven people escaped a structure that collapsed in northwest Dallas, but Dallas rescue crews were searching to see if anyone was left inside, Evans said. WFAA-TV reported that a convenience store collapsed in the storm, but the clerk told the station that everyone who was inside made it out safely.

Evans said the department had also received multiple calls from people injured in their homes by broken glass.

On Twitter, Dallas Fire-Rescue said one of its own stations sustained significant damage during the storms overnight, and included photos that appeared to show a collapsed roof and debris. Evans said none of the firefighters at Station 41 were hurt, but said the roof was torn off by the high winds.

Dallas Stars player Tyler Seguin says his home was heavily damaged by severe storms that swept through Dallas, but no one was hurt.

The hockey player said on Twitter that he had moved to another home and the property damaged late Sunday was listed for sale.

A radio station, KNON-FM, went off the air as the studio suffered major damage from the tornado. Lew Morris, one of the  station’s hosts, said that the power at the station went out first, followed by the “distinctive whistle” of a tornado.

“We then heard the building shaking and could hear the glass windows shattering everywhere along with debris banging around. We waited until all the noise died down,” Morris said. “We walked out to see the studio he was just broadcasting from destroyed.”

Godwin said the size and severity of the tornado won’t be known until crews arrive to survey the damage. NWS warning co-ordination meteorologist Jennifer Dunn said there may have been two or more tornadoes in north Texas, but reiterated that the extent wouldn’t be known until later Monday afternoon.