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Reports: Severe storm damages 150 homes, kills 1 in northern Arkansas

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
April 15, 2018, 2:27:07 AM EDT

As of 1:45 a.m. CDT Saturday, this blog is no longer being updated.

More than 28 million are at risk for severe weather on Friday across a large portion of the central and southern United States.

Cities at risk from the damaging storms that will first develop Friday afternoon include: Dallas, Austin and San Antonio Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri; Fort Smith and Texarkana, Arkansas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Mountainburg, Arkansas, was hit by a tornado-warmed thunderstorm on Friday afternoon with widespread damage reported around the town.

There are a variety of threats that the storms could produce such as isolated tornadoes, damaging winds, hail and flash flooding. Travel delays are also possible.

Residents should be prepared to move indoors and seek shelter at the first sign of thunder or lightning.

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12:40 a.m. CDT Friday:

Injuries have been reported outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, after damaging wind gusts caused a tree to fall onto a mobile home. In the same location, a preliminary fatality has been reported after a trailer was overturned by the winds.

These storms continue to maintain their intensity as they move rapidly eastward across northern Louisiana.

Severe Storms South 2 am Sat Static

11:25 p.m. CDT Friday:

A line of severe thunderstorms is moving rapidly eastward across northeastern Texas and is approaching Shreveport, Louisiana, and Texarkana, Texas, with the primary mode of severe weather being damaging winds. There is also the potential for isolated incidents of large hail and some brief tornadoes to spin up at times as this line moves eastward.

This line of storms has a history of producing golf-ball sized hail near Tyler, Texas, as well as tree and home damage near Henderson and Austin, Texas.

Tornadoes can be even more life-threatening at night when most people are sleeping and can be unaware of severe weather warnings.

Weather radar Texarkana 12 am Sat static

10:25 p.m. CDT Friday:

Severe thunderstorms are moving through Little Rock, Arkansas, with the potential for damaging wind gusts and brief, heavy downpours.

Driving at night in heavy rain and gusty winds can make travel very difficult, and vehicles have a greater chance of hydroplaning on wet roadways.

These storms have a history of producing wind gusts strong enough to damage trees and buildings, with roof damage reported on campus at the University of Central Arkansas.

9:34 p.m. CDT Friday:

A line of severe thunderstorms has developed across Arkansas and southern Missouri with the primary threat being damaging winds. However, some thunderstorms in this line of storms may spin up a tornado.

These tornadoes can be extremely dangerous as they will be difficult to see under the cover of night.

line of storms

8:40 p.m. CDT Friday:

Over 150 buildings were damaged and four people injured in Mountainburg, Arkansas, due to a possible tornado that moved through earlier on Friday.

Some showers continue to bring rain to the area, but the severe threat has diminished in Mountainburg.

7:51 p.m. CDT Friday:

More pictures are coming out of Mountainburg, Arkansas, after a tornado-warned thunderstorm moved through on Friday afternoon.

Thousands of people are without power around Mountainburg with search and rescue still underway.

mountainburg tornado 1

Storm damage in Mountainburg, Arkansas, on Friday afternoon. (Photo/Crawford County Department of Emergency Management)

mountain burg tornado 2

Storm damage in Mountainburg, Arkansas, on Friday afternoon. (Photo/Crawford County Department of Emergency Management)

7:15 p.m. CDT Friday:

The tornado threat is projected to increase in a narrow area in western Arkansas over the next few hours as a supercell thunderstorm tracks across the state.

"A significant tornado threat may increase and areas downstream from the Sevier County tornadic supercell ---including Montgomery and Yell counties--- are under an increasing tornado risk," the Storm Prediction Center said in a special weather discussion.

The thunderstorm has a history of producing a tornado and could lead to major damage if the storm strengthens.

big tornado reed

A tornado northwest of Dierks, Arkansas, on Friday evening as seen by Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer.

6:55 p.m. CDT Friday:

Three thunderstorms in north-central Louisiana are capable of producing a tornado. A tornado was confirmed near Calhoun, Louisiana, earlier this evening by a NOAA aircraft flying in the area.

3 tor storms

Another thunderstorm near Provo, Arkansas, has a history of producing a tornado. AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer is targeting the storm.

6:37 p.m. CDT Friday:

While the strongest storms have focused on Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, severe storms have brought large hail to parts of Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.

Some hail with these storms have been as large as golf balls, including hail that fell in Oakland, Iowa, on Friday afternoon.

hail oakland iowa

Golf ball-sized hail in Oakland, Iowa on Friday afternoon. (Photo/Elizabeth Graves)

5:50 p.m. CDT Friday:

A new thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado is just east of Fort Smith, Arkansas. People in Cecil and Ozark, Arkansas, should seek shelter immediately.

radar 8

This storm may bring rain and lightning to Mountainburg, which experienced storm damage earlier this afternoon, but the worst of the storm should track east of the town.

5 p.m. CDT Friday:

Damage is being reported in Mountainburg, Arkansas, after a tornado-warned thunderstorm tracked through the town.

The Crawford Country Department of Emergency Management has activated their search and rescue operations as several people are trapped in homes.

4:51 p.m. CDT Friday:

Severe thunderstorms with a history of producing hail are approaching Dallas from the west.

These storms may impact the Friday evening commute, slowing traffic and potentially causing delays at airports across the area.

dallas radar gif

4:22 p.m. CDT Friday:

A confirmed tornado just passed near Mountainburg, Arkansas, and is moving northeast. This is from the same severe storm that tracked near Fort Smith, Arkansas, earlier this afternoon.

Law enforcement that one home has been damaged in Mountainsburg after the storm moved through the town.

3:52 p.m. CDT Friday:

A severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado has developed near Fort Smith, Arkansas, and is moving northeast toward Van Buren, Rena and Rudy.

Large hail, strong wind gusts and frequent lightning are also possible with this storm.

tor warn 1

2 p.m. CDT Friday:

A new tornado watch has been issued for areas from northeastern Texas into Arkansas.

This is a particularly dangerous situation. Numerous tornadoes are expected with a few intense tornadoes likely.

People in this area should monitor the weather closely and know where to seek shelter if a tornado is approaching.

1:45 p.m. CDT Friday:

The first severe thunderstorms of the afternoon have developed in central Oklahoma just east of Oklahoma City.

These storms are moving to the northeast and may bring hail, strong winds and frequent lightning.

radar first

1:21 p.m. CDT Friday:

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a tornado watch for areas from northeastern Texas to southwestern Missouri.

"Storms developing [in this area] are expected to intensify and evolve into supercells capable of very large hail, damaging wind and a few tornadoes," the NWS said in the tornado watch.

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