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Tens of thousands without power in Longview after storm

Tens of thousands of East Texans are without power after a powerful storm whipped across the region, taking down trees and power lines.

More than 29,000 customers were without power as of 7 p.m. Sunday in Gregg County alone, according to AEP Southwestern Electric Power Co. Thousands more SWEPCO customers were in the dark in surrounding cities, including 11,075 in Harrison County, 3,331 in Panola County and 2,726 in Rusk County.

Across SWEPCO's service area, the utility said, more than 57,000 customers were without power.

The outages were being blamed on downed lines after severe thunderstorms roared into East Texas, leading to watches and warnings from the National Weather Service.

In Longview and Gregg County, which appeared to be hardest hit, first responders had their hands full with reports of downed trees on houses and cars, blocked streets and downed power lines.

As of 6:30 p.m., there were no reports of serious injuries blamed on the storm or its aftermath, though street flooding and traffic problems were many.

Across the city retailers were contending with power outages, as well.

Though storms had subsided, the National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm watch until midnight for Angelina, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby and Smith counties in East Texas.

Just after 7 p.m., the weather service issued a flash flood warning until 10 p.m. for parts of Louisiana and southeastern Panola County, east-central Nacogdoches County, Shelby County, northern San Augustine County and northwestern Sabine County. Earlier, flash flood warnings were issued until 9:45 p.m. for southwestern Rusk County and parts of Angelina and Cherokee counties.

Forecasts suggested more storms were possible about 8:15 p.m. in the Longview area.

Check back to news-journal.com for more on this breaking news story.

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