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Clash of air masses sparks tornado outbreak in the U.S.

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Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, April 3, 2014, 10:08 PM -

Atlantic Canada may have already had its most significant storm of the year so far -- but south of the border, active weather has just kicked into high gear. 

The U.S. is in the midst of a tornado outbreak, with the risk of additional twisters forming in parts of the U.S. through Friday.

This storm is part of the same system that's bringing heavy snow to northern Ontario and moderate rain to southern Ontario.

On Thursday evening, reports suggested at least three tornadoes had touched down -- one in Missouri and two in Texas.

About an hour later, more tornadoes were reported.

A rash of warnings were in effect in several states in the Midwest and south. Some have dropped, but others are expected to remain in place for some time.


RELATED: Tornadoes on Twitter: fist-sized hail slams the U.S.


"All the thunderstorms that are intensifying as of 6:30 p.m. local time are on the western flank of all the posted tornado watches. Once the parameters come together with the low level jet we will have a spark in tornado development, with the potential for twisters to continue forming through the night," says Weather Network meteorologist Brian Dillon.

Tornado watches along the Ohio River Valley in southern Indiana and Illinois have been extended until 5 a.m., Dillon adds.

The outbreak comes on the anniversary of a deadly tornado outbreak that ripped through parts of Canada and the U.S. in 1974 -- causing hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.

Severe thunderstorms brought softball-sized hail to communities in Texas -- and in some places, it was plentiful enough to completely cover yards. 

Power flashes were reported east of the community of Farmersville, not long after a tornado was believed to have passed by.

"Hunt Co. Sheriff reports two houses 'gone'," Fox News tweeted Thursday evening.

Flash floods stranded motorists in St. Louis, Missouri ahead of a brief tornado touching down in the area, causing damage to about 100 homes.

Flood warnings cover several parts of the state.

Officials in Jefferson County were forced to evacuate some mobile homes and make a few rescues due to the rapidly-rising water levels.

The Weather Channel is reporting that the threat of severe thunderstorms remains high in nine states.

This is cause for concern, as any severe thunderstorm is capable of producing a tornado.


RELATED: Severe weather threat in the U.S. sparkes memories of deadly outbreak 40 years ago 


1974 SUPER TORNADO OUTBREAK

Thursday's severe weather risk may be sparking some frightful memories of a deadly tornado outbreak that swept through the U.S. and southern Ontario 40 years ago.

It was the largest 24 hour tornado outbreak in history.

Hundreds of communities were hit including Windsor, Ontario where an F3 tornado touched down and nine people were killed.

In total, there were more than 300 deaths and 6,000 injuries.

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