The central United States [US] experienced its first megastorm of 2014 yesterday, when severe weather swept through the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas, producing flash floods, dangerous lightning and at least 31 tornadoes; dozens where injured, and (as of this writing) 18 are known to have perished, with more expected to be found as officials comb through the rubble left behind.
Arkansas took the brunt of the tragedy, with 16 of the confirmed dead found in an area just north of Little Rock, 10 of which in Faulkner County alone; a state of emergency has been declared, with National Guard troops being called in to provide relief and federal aid being promised to the devastated region.
threat is far from over, advising that as this unstable weather pattern moves east more severe storms are likely, which could produce additional tornadic activity; states from the Great Lakes south to the Gulf, and east to the southern Atlantic seaboard, face potential outbreaks over the next three days.
Severe weather of this magnitude, while devastating, is not uncommon for the central part of the US, although in the last century tornadic activity has occurred much earlier in the season; add to that the extended winter-weather season, and - if becoming a trend - could portend a shift of seasonal norms.
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