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.
Around 8:47 p.m. PDT, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake shook in the mountains of California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
More than 500 inbound and outbound flights at LaGuardia in New York were delayed due to the storms.
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With one day remaining before Memorial Day weekend, the Sandy-battered Jersey coastline is hustling to finish last-minute preparations.
The Memorial Day weekend will begin cool, windy and rainy in New England and part of the mid-Atlantic.
Explosive thunderstorm development can bring tornadoes to northern Texas and southwestern Oklahoma late Thursday.
North Texas (1986)
Severe thunderstorms produced 95 mph wind gusts and widespread damage. More than 3" of rain fell in less than an hour. A 29 year old women and 6 year old daughter drowned when the underpass they were driving into was flooded out.
Newton, NJ (1925)
96 degrees on the 23rd; 39 degrees on the morning of the 24th.
Knoxville, TN (1807)
Hail 10" in circumference hail; a tornado went over the river, sucking fish out of the water.