Multiple Tornadoes Strike Arkansas, Mississippi

By Bill Deger, Meteorologist
October 18, 2012; 4:00 PM ET
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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.

Photos: Late-Night Tornadoes Keep People Up All Night

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.

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