TIME weather

Severe Weather Unleashes Tornadoes and Hail Across the Midwest

Early-morning storms roll through St. Louis
Jason Reidl, left, and Chris Thomas with Laclede Gas, look at a fallen tree that ruptured a gas main on Thursday April 3, 2014 in University City, Mo. Christian Gooden—St. Louis Post-Dispatch/AP

Springtime sees the seasonal return of severe weather to the Midwest, with tornadoes, heavy rain and baseball-size hailstones hitting the heartland as other parts of the country prepare to warm up after months of snow

Updated 12:49 a.m. E.T. on April 4, 2014

Spring is here, and towns across Tornado Alley experienced their first taste of severe seasonal weather Thursday as tornadoes, hail and thunderstorms hit large swaths of the southern Plains and the Midwest.

As of Thursday night, myriad tornado warnings issued by the National Weather Service remained in effect in counties across North Texas, up through central Missouri and into western Kentucky. But the tornadoes were relatively small, and there were no deaths reported as of late Thursday night.

“That’s where we think (potential of) tornadoes — some potentially strong — will be the greatest,” Bill Bunting, forecast operations chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., told the Associated Press.

“This will continue to evolve with time.”

Earlier on Thursday morning, a small EF1 tornado briefly touched down in St. Louis, damaging approximately 100 homes. Severe-weather bands plagued also the Dallas–Forth Worth area, with reports of power outages and baseball-size hail wreaking havoc on automobiles and homes in north-central Texas.

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