DALLAS – Severe weather rampaged across the U.S. heartland, claiming at least nine lives across Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma, in what has already become a historic spring storm season. Early Wednesday, the storm system was contributing to sleepless nights from Iowa to Texas, pelting many areas with golf ball-size hail. The powerful storms paid another visit to Joplin, Missouri, where a weekend tornado killed 124 people, making it the deadliest single U.S. twister since modern record-keeping began 61 years ago. The city was briefly under a tornado warning late Tuesday before it was raked by blustery winds and peppered with lightning.
Twisters also brewed in Dallas and several northern Texas counties, according to the National Weather Service. The storm system cut a deadly path through Arkansas, leaving at least two dead there. In Franklin County, a tornado touched down shortly after midnight, leaving behind extensive damage, said Steve Piltz, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It killed at least one person, the Arkansas State Police said.