Storms Boom Across State, Tornado Reported in St. Francis County

NOVEMBER 15, 2006 - Posted at 7:29 a.m. CST, updated at 9:36 a.m. CST

FORREST CITY, AR - Thunderstorms worked their way across Arkansas overnight, with hazardous weather continuing into this morning.

Authorities near Forrest City say at least five tractor-trailer trucks have been blown over on Interstate-40 in an area where a possible tornado was spotted shortly after 4 a.m. this morning.

Officials now say at least four people were hospitalized from injuries from the crashes, up from only one reported hospitalization this morning.

Authorities are asking motorists to avoid the area on I-40 between mile markers 229 and 231 in eastern Arkansas.

In the Wheatley area, officials say a hotel along I-40 has sustained structural damage.

A number of places in central Arkansas experienced flash flooding overnight, including the Little Rock area, as storms dropped rain and hail and brought high winds.  The National Weather Service says strong and gusty winds from the north today will bring much cooler air.  Afternoon temperatures will be dropping into the 40s over the northwest and into the 50s elsewhere in the state.  Lows tonight will be in the lower 30s in the northwest to near 40 in southeast Arkansas.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)