Tornadoes, Storms Cover Parts of U.S.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., March 11 (UPI) — A tornado watch for Arkansas ended Thursday after powerful tornadoes bulldozed through dozens of homes and critically injured two people, officials said.

The storms that produced the destructive tornadoes late Wednesday were expected to lose some their punch as they moved east of the Mississippi Thursday, said. However, forecasters warned some locally damaging storms could hit areas from southern Illinois to Florida.

In central Arkansas, one tornado damaged 22 homes in Saline County, CNN reported.

“It was the awfulest roaring I ever heard in my life,” a woman told KTHV, Little Rock. “My house felt like it was fixing to crumble over me.”

Another tornado touched down in White County, north of Saline, the National Weather Service said, damaging nine homes and injuring one person.

A third tornado hit Cleburne County, damaging or destroying several homes and injuring three people, two critically, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Emergency Management said.

Two areas of the country were at risk for strong storm action Thursday, said. Residents in Florida and southeastern Georgia could get socked by drenching and damaging storms, while communities from southern Illinois and Indiana to Alabama and Mississippi could see thunderstorms.

In Florida, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa are among the cities that could experience storms capable of producing torrential downpours, strong winds, lightning, hail and isolated tornadoes or waterspouts, forecasters said.

The heaviest rain and the greatest flooding threat were forecast for parts of South Carolina, southern Georgia and northern Florida, said.

Areas in the Midwest to Mississippi could see storms capable of producing locally strong winds, dangerous lightning, hail, and funnel clouds, forecasters said. Cities in the path include Evansville, Ind.; Bowling Green, Ky.; Nashville; Birmingham, Ala., and Tupelo, Miss.

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