Homes leveled as storms rip through Missouri, Arkansas - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Homes leveled as storms rip through Missouri, Arkansas

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A tree fell on this home in Hazelwood, MO, during heavy storms Wednesday. A tree fell on this home in Hazelwood, MO, during heavy storms Wednesday.

By John Newland and Matthew DeLuca, NBC News

(NBC) -- A forceful storm system whipped tornadoes and severe thunderstorms across Missouri and Arkansas late Wednesday, wrecking homes, downing power lines and injuring multiple people in both states.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency as the severe storm system that he said included tornadoes walloped suburbs west and southwest of St. Louis. He planned to tour affected areas Thursday.

"This was a strong system of storms that caused damage to communities in several areas of our state," Nixon said in a statement. "We will continue to work closely with local officials to assess damages and provide any needed assistance."

Missouri governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency for some areas of the state after intense spring storms caused high winds and possibly tornadoes in Missouri and Arkansas, damaging dozens of homes. NBC's Marci Manley reports.

While authorities in Arkansas could not confirm that any tornadoes struck their state, three homes were destroyed and more than 50 damaged along with a church, according to Tommy Jackson, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency management. An unknown number of people were trapped inside their home when a tree fell on it in the southeast county of Lincoln, Jackson said.

The National Weather Service announced it would send response teams to survey an area near Clinton, Ark., to determine whether one or more tornadoes had touched down.
Van Buren County, in the central north of the state, was reportedly among the hardest hit as the storm swept over Arkansas. More than 30 homes were damaged, six were destroyed, and a fire department was heavily damaged, according to county judge Roger Hooper. Four people were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The Weather Channel received four reports of tornadoes in Van Buren County, all of them within 24 minutes, said meteorologist Kevin Roth – which could mean that one tornado was reported multiple times in the county.

The storm made a plaything of an 18-wheeler in Botkinburg, Ark., tossing the truck and causing damage to a house, Roth said.

About 24,000 customers were without power in Missouri on Thursday morning and close to 1,000 more were in the dark in Arkansas, according to utility firms.
The storms popped up as a cold front clashed with the warm, humid southern climate, causing a more than 40-degree temperature difference in some parts of the state, according to

The threat of strong winds, hail, and possible tornadoes moved east into the Ohio Valley and southeastern states, forecasters reported before sunrise on Thursday, with the possibility for storms stretching in a wide swath from Indiana to Georgia during the day.

Other parts of the country, including South Dakota and Minnesota, were punched with a mix of snow and ice, and Gov. Mark Dayton called out the National Guard on Wednesday to help ice-bound Minnesotans. Freezing rain and ice yanked down power lines and tree limbs in southeastern Minnesota, with more foul weather and up to a threat of snow on Thursday.

Minneapolis could get up to 10 inches of snow as the storm moves east, with up to a foot predicted for parts of Wisconsin and Michigan. The late wintry weather could make a final pass over northern New York and New England before it finally eases out over the Atlantic on Friday.

NBC News' Christopher Nelson contributed to this report.

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