Mar 11, 2010 9:16 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Tornadoes, baseball-sized hail slam southeast

Twisters struck parts of Arkansas Wednesday night, injuring four people and destroying a handful of homes, as a line of storms marched east.

After a daylong watch for possible tornadoes in the region, Emergency Management spokeswoman Renee Preslar said three people suffered major injuries in a tornado that destroyed a house near Pearson in northern Arkansas.

The National Weather Service said another person suffered a leg injury in a tornado in Center Hill in northeast Arkansas.

Tornadoes and high winds also caused damage in other areas, but no other injuries were reported. NBC News reported that "baseball-sized hail" fell south of Texarkana, Ark., on Wednesday, but the night's storms missed most population centers.

"Golf ball-sized hail" was reported in northeast Texas, southwest Missouri and northwest Louisiana, according to NBC News.

Forecasters have said moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, a wetter-than-usual winter and a jet stream racing over "Tornado Alley" could contribute to a rapid uptick in violent storms.

Preslar told NBC News that at least nine homes were damaged in White County during Wednesday's storm. The only other county reporting damages was Saline County, which reported 6 to 8 homes damaged in one location, and up to 13 in another, she said.

Oklahoma, northern Texas and other states had been on the watch Wednesday for new twisters after one on Monday night that destroyed five homes and damaged others. No one was injured.

A storm spotter reported seeing the tornado about 5:15 p.m. on Monday near Elk City, which is about 110 miles west of Oklahoma City.

The tornado was on the ground at least 15 minutes, traveling across open countryside before reaching Hammon, about 15 miles to the north.




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