Wicked Spring Weather

Severe storm systems sweep across the south-central region of the U.S.

April 27, 2011

A deadly storm system continued to sweep through the nation's midsection on Tuesday night and early Wednesday, causing widespread destruction and injuries in several states. Pounding rain, flash flooding and strong winds damaged dozens of homes and toppled trees. The violent storm killed 173 people across five states.

This round of wild weather comes just one day after a powerful storm system killed 11 people in Arkansas and Mississippi. On Monday, a tornado ripped through the town of Vilonia, Arkansas, in Faulkner County. The twister flattened homes, sent cars flying and tore down power lines. "It snapped overhead poles like they were toothpicks," said Faulkner County spokesman Stephan Hawks. "It was a heck of a little tornado."

A Season of Twisters

Much of the South was still struggling to pick up the pieces caused by flooding and earlier twisters when the latest series of storms struck on Tuesday. According to the Weather Channel, more than 290 confirmed tornadoes—and counting—have touched down in the U.S. in April. The number shatters the previous record, set in 1974, of 267 tornadoes in the same month.

The National Weather Service issued several tornado warnings in the region on Tuesday. Officials in Alabama reported two suspected tornadoes in Marshall County, near Birmingham. According to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas, at least one twister had hit between the small towns of Edom and Van, in East Texas.

"You could see lumber and stuff swirling in it," said resident Rhonda Modesitt, 45. She and her 15-year-old son had watched the tornado spin toward their apartment. "You could hear it coming through and then it got really still."

On April 22, a twister slammed Lambert Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, causing severe damage and chaos. The airport was closed after the tornado hit, but is now operating at near full capacity again. It was one of five twisters to hit Eastern Missouri on Friday.

The storm system is set to head east across the nation this week, affecting states from New York to Georgia.


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