At least eight people were injured as a round of severe storms, including a few tornadoes, swept through the Mississippi Valley and South Wednesday and Wednesday night.
According to preliminary reports compiled by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), at least four tornadoes touched down across Arkansas and Mississippi.
A potent cold front moving across the Lower Mississippi Valley acted as the ignition for the thunderstorms. Enough humid air was in place to support the growth of severe thunderstorms capable of spawning tornadoes. Twisting winds in the atmosphere aided the rotation in thunderstorms, further aiding tornado development.
Strong winds, wind damage or hail was reported across a half dozen states in total, from Illinois to Mississippi.
One particularly damaging tornado tracked across Sharkey County, Miss., shortly before 11:00 p.m. local time, destroying numerous mobile homes and injuring five near the town of Louise, which sustained "heavy" damage according to local law enforcement.
The same tornadic thunderstorm narrowly missed nearby Yazoo City, which was devastated by a pair of tornadoes in 2010.
The towns of Clarendon and West Jericho, Ark., and Shelby, Miss., were also impacted by tornadoes Wednesday evening, according to various reports.
Severe storm reports from Wed., Oct. 17. Strong winds and wind damage incidents are indicated in blue, while tornadoes are plotted in red and hail in green. (SPC)
It is possible that more tornadoes will be confirmed to have touched down across the region as other incidents of wind damage are assessed by the National Weather Service over the next couple of days.
One such incident occurred in Scott County, Miss., where a person was injured when a tree fell onto their mobile home.
Strong thunderstorm winds heavily damaged about a dozen buildings in Bland, Mo., earlier in the day, including the town's post office, where two people sustained minor injuries.
As of 4:30 a.m. EST Thursday, there were nearly 100 reports of severe weather and damage from the severe weather outbreak. Eighty of the reports alone were wind damage, ranging from downed trees and power lines to partially collapsed structures.
While not as prolific, a few storms produced one-inch diameter hail stones in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The death toll from lightning so far in 2014 has reached 15 in the United States, with six fatalities in Florida topping the list.
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A 10-month-old girl died after being left in a hot car in Kansas Thursday night, according to the Associated Press, as high heat gripped the area.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists are monitoring an area of thunderstorms near Palau for potential tropical development.
Stormy weather will be the theme for the weekend across the Midwest and Ohio Valley with several chances for severe thunderstorms.
Dry weather across the western half of the country continues to spark wildfires, especially across Utah and the Northwest.
Rowan, NC (1996)
4" of rain in 45 minutes.
Southern California (1996)
7-10 foot swells on the beaches from a powerful storm south of Tahiti. Life guards had to make more than 500 rescues due to the rough surf.
Los Angeles, CA (1891)
Heat wave; 109 degrees.