The severe thunderstorm watch in the Four States Area will continue through 10 tonight.

NWS initially warned of winds, accompanying the storm, in excess of 70 mph, but around 6:40 p.m., it added to the severe thunderstorm watch the possibility of heavy rainfall, dangerous lightning and damaging hail.

In addition, power lines and trees are reportedly down throughout Bowie, Cass and Miller counties and beyond, according to officials, and at least 18,000 customers were without electricity at 6:50 p.m. in Northeast Texas and Southwest Arkansas, the AEP-Southwestern Electric Power Co. Website showed.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Northeast Texas, Southeast Oklahoma and Southwest Arkansas. At 4:57 p.m., meteorologists detected a line of severe thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 65 mph. The storms were along a line extending from 24 miles north of Manchester to Idabel, Okla., to Lockesburg, Ark., or along a line extending from 25 miles northeast of Hugo, Okla., to 23 miles northeast of Clarksville, Texas, to 11 miles east of Horatio, Ark., and moving south at 45 mph.

Winds reached 59 mph in De Queen, Ark., according to the NWS. About about 7 p.m., traffic U.S. Highway 71 east of De Queen was block, and traffic was being rerouted, according to reports.

The severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the following counties and cities in Northeast Texas: Bowie, Cass, Red River, Marion, Morris, Franklin, Titus and Upshur and Simms, New Boston, Texarkana, Domino, Clarksville and Boxelder.

Other locations in the warning include but are not limited to Winthrop, Arkinda, Alleene, Richmond, Bagwell, DeKalb, Hooks, Dalby Springs, Bogata, Spring Hill and Maud.

McCurtain County in Southeast Oklahoma and Sevier and western Little River counties in Southwest Arkansas are included in the warning, which covers the cities of Foreman, Horatio and De Queen.

Recommended actions during a severe thunderstorm watch or warning include:

• Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

• Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.

• Get inside a home, building or hard-top vehicle (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.

• Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.

More about what to do before thunderstorm and lightning:

• Avoid contact with corded phones and devices plugged into electric outlets for recharging. Cordless and wireless phones not connected to wall outlets are OK to use.

• Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.

• Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.

• Stay away from windows and doors and stay off porches.

• If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on emergency flashers until heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.

Published: 07/23/2014