Tornado sirens played in Dallas and other parts of Texas on Thursday. High winds overturned several tractor-trailers as severe weather struck parts of that state and others, officials said.

No casualties had been immediately reported, but Texas Utility Oncor said that more than 260,000 houses and businesses were without power Thursday night.

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Tornadoes were seen in Franklin and Hopkins counties in Texas, which are east of Dallas, and in the Shreveport, Louisiana, area, according to the National Weather Service. Storm surveys are conducted to confirm whether reported tornadoes occurred.

On Thursday night, tornado watches covered around 3.5 million people in Texas and the South, according to the weather service. The watches stretched from east of Dallas and into Arkansas and north Louisiana.

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What is a Tornado siren?

A tornado siren means that something life-threatening is happening and you should go indoors and get more information. The specific guidelines for sounding sirens vary by jurisdiction, so check with your local community to find out the specifics if you are interested.

When a siren stops sounding, it does not mean that the potential weather threat has passed. Generally, sirens are active for around three minutes, not for the duration of a threat. Stay inside until the threat has passed and media or local officials indicate it is safe.

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If you hear a tornado siren inside during a test, do not depend on them as your only source of notification for dangerous weather. You might not be able to hear them over common household noises, like a vacuum, television, exhaust fan, or running water.

You should always have multiple sources to get warnings. If severe weather is forecasted overnight, make sure you have a weather radio or mobile phone with audible alerts enabled.