HOLLY SPRINGS, Texas (AP) _ Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes ripped across the South, destroying homes and knocking out power for thousands of people. One person was killed early today in Alabama.

The stormy weather, boiling up along a quickly moving cold front, struck Texas during the evening Tuesday, with at least seven tornadoes reported in east Texas.

One tornado destroyed three houses and damaged more than 20 others in tiny Holly Springs, about 110 miles northeast of Houston.

``I've never heard anything that loud before,'' said resident Alissa Scott.

Four people from the Holly Springs area were in serious condition today at Jasper Memorial Hospital.

As the line of storms rolled across Alabama early today, a possible tornado struck Millbrook in the central part of the state, downing numerous trees and power lines. One man was killed in his sleep when a tree fell onto his home, authorities said.

At Monroe, La., wind ripped the roof off the Ouachita Parish High School gymnasium, canceling a basketball game as shards of glass fell to the floor.

``I was working in the concession stand and had my back to the glass making change for someone,'' said Beth Long. ``I heard a loud noise, then someone grabbed me and pulled me down. Glass flew everywhere.''

Two people had minor injuries. The school was closed today.

Some 23,000 customers lost power in Louisiana. Power outages also were reported in central Mississippi.

Outside Jackson, Miss., Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillan said the aluminum roof was ripped off of a building at the penal farm his department operates in Raymond. No injuries were reported.

Hail an inch in diameter hammered the south side of Little Rock, Ark.