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Deep South and Northeast threatened by severe weather

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The threat of severe thunderstorms persisted in the South and moved into the Northeast
  • In Memphis, Tennessee, 54,000 customers lose power
  • Parts of seven states under tornado watch early Wednesday
  • The watches are set to expire later Wednesday morning

If severe weather happens near you, we want to hear your story. Share your photos and videos with CNN iReport, but please be careful. See more from CNN affiliate WHAS.

(CNN) -- The threat of severe thunderstorms continued Wednesday to hang over portions of the Deep South and into the Northeast, after another round of violent weather swept through the country the day before.

Forecasters warned of severe weather conditions in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia, while threats of thunderstorms circulated in New Jersey and the New York City metropolitan area.

So far there have been no reports of injuries or deaths from the latest round of storms, according to emergency management officials and law enforcement. Violent storms and tornadoes last week killed at least 46 people in the southeastern United States.

On Wednesday, firefighters in Celina, Ohio, battled blazes that broke out after severe weather swept through the area. The fires damaged multiple homes and business, according to Lt. Chris Klein of the Celina Fire Department.

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Celina is about one hour north of Dayton, Ohio.

Arkansas State Police Trooper Eric Agee told CNN a tractor trailer overturned late Tuesday night on Interstate 40 in West Memphis, Arkansas, as severe weather swept through the area.

"High winds apparently caused the tractor trailer to overturn," said Agee, adding that the accident forced multiple road closings.

The storms also created power outages. In Louisville, CNN affiliate WHAS reported 20,000 power outages in that city and 30,000 in Indiana. At the height of the overnight storm, more than 54,000 customers in Memphis, Tennessee, were without power, said Bob Nations Jr., director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness.

"It's been an unusual season," Nations told CNN. "We sustained a severe storm last week and it looks like we sustained a lot of damage last night."

Trees fell on houses, a local high school was damaged and lightning struck the tower of the county's emergency center, knocking out power, Nations said. At the height of storm, some emergency warning sirens stopped working and others blared continuously even after the storms passed, he said.

Pike County, Missouri, Sheriff Stephen Korte said Tuesday his office received eyewitness accounts of two separate funnel clouds touching down south and southwest of Bowling Green. No storm-related injuries were immediately reported, though one house had its roof ripped off and falling hail was the size of baseballs, he said.

Trained weather spotters reported a tornado was on the ground Tuesday night in Mehlville, Missouri, in the southern St. Louis metropolitan area, the National Weather Service said. No additional information was immediately available.

At least 114 tornadoes struck between Thursday and Saturday, according to National Weather Service records.

Twisters hit 14 states: Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Arkansas and Pennsylvania.

Twenty-five of last week's confirmed tornadoes were in North Carolina, making the outbreak the largest in the state's history.

Hardest hit from the latest storms was rural Bertie County, where 12 of North Carolina's 24 deaths were reported, the governor's office said. More than 100 people were injured statewide and more than 1,000 homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged, according to state officials.

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue on Tuesday asked President Barack Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to declare a disaster in 18 of the state's counties. Obama did so hours later, making federal aid available.

On Wednesday, Perdue signed a measure to aid storm cleanup, allowing the state Department of Transportation to pick up debris from the edges of farmers' properties. Without it, farmers would have to move debris to a state right-of-way for collection, Perdue's office said in a statement. She also signed a bill allowing property owners to bury debris without a permit until June 1 and relaxing some restrictions on burning debris.

The 114 tornadoes confirmed so far makes the outbreak the most active since June 2008, when 136 tornadoes ripped through the Midwest, according to National Weather Service records.

In February 2008, a 131-tornado outbreak struck the Southeast and Ohio Valley on Super Tuesday primary voting day, killing 57 people and causing more than $1 billion in damages, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

And in April 1974, an outbreak of 148 tornadoes struck in 24 hours, killing 330 people, according to National Weather Service records. That is the most tornadoes in a 24-hour period in U.S. history, CNN meteorologist Sean Morris said.

CNN's Rick Martin and Ric Ward contributed to this report

 
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