Damaging thunderstorms, including a few tornadoes, will continue to threaten the lower Mississippi Valley through New Year's Eve. A squall line of thunderstorms will tear through the South on New Year's Day.
Cold air charging eastward over the southern Plains is violently lifting a surge of warm, moist air from the northern Gulf Coast to the middle Mississippi Valley today.
The threat of severe weather this afternoon stretches from central Illinois southward to northern Louisiana.
This evening, the risk of severe weather will push eastward stretching from northern Indiana to much of southeastern Louisiana.
Many of the storms will bring torrential downpours that can briefly overwhelm storm drains, blind divers and slow travel on the roadways.
The strongest storms will bring damaging wind gusts that can snap tree branches and remove shingles from homes.
The strongest of the storms have and will continue to produce a couple of tornadoes.
A tree crashed through a home near Sunset Hills, Mo. Fri., Dec. 31, 2010. Photo by Abbey Smith, AccuWeather.com Fan.
As the storms cross the Mississippi River and the blizzard lifts northward into central Canada, they will translate to a squall line that will push eastward through the South and northern Gulf of Mexico waters during New Year's Day.
People are advised to pay attention to official watches and warnings and to seek shelter as the storms approach.
Tornadoes Strike Arkansas, Missouri
A tornado struck Washington and Benton counties in Arkansas just before sunrise Friday, Dec. 31, 2010.
The aftermath of a tornado in Cincinnati, Ark. Friday, Dec. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Siloam Springs Herald Leader via the Benton County Daily Record, Melissa Gute)
According to officials in the area, three people were killed in the town of Cincinnati, Ark.
According to Weather Data Founder and Severe Weather Expert, Mike Smith, the storm tracked from near Westville, Oklahoma to the small town in northwestern Arkansas.
The same storm,caused extensive damage to part of Westville, Okla., minutes before hitting Cincinnati.
Debris from the storm was thrown 30 miles away according to Weather Data.
"Another tornado touched down in Rolla and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri a short time later during Friday morning," according to Smith.
"There are reports of significant damage to these communities," he added.
A tornado may have also downed a 35-foot radio tower near Washington, Mo. and damaged homes in Robertsville, Mo. at midday.
During the first part of the afternoon there have been reports of collapsed homes and trees into homes in the southwest part of the St. Louis Metro area.
The timing of these severe weather incidents goes to show that during the winter months, damaging thunderstorms are not limited to the afternoon and evening hours, as the sun is rather weak.Severe weather, along with surges of warm air can also occur at night or early in the morning.
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