Mother Nature's Fury: Hail in Texas, Deadly Tornadoes in the Heartland

NBC News: 18 dead after 31 reported tornadoes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Cabrera family as returning to Coppell when they got caught in a hail storm on I-20 west of Canton. (Published Sunday, Apr 27, 2014)

    North Texas was spared when it came to violent weather that cut through the Heartland on Sunday.

    Damaging hail was the biggest threat Sunday and some families in the eastern parts of North Texas have the damage to prove it.

    Baseball-sized hail came down in Wills Point in Van Zandt County.

    The Cabrera family, of Coppell, wasn't expecting the weather to be so bad it could knock out their car's back window.

    Their car was hit by hail as they returned home from Tyler on Interstate 20 just west of Canton.

    "It probably hailed for like three minutes, then it was done," said Caitlynn Cabrera. "I was freaking out. Like, I've never been in that type of situation or ever had to know about it. So, I just ducked, and as soon as we started seeing the front window start cracking we just ducked and hid."

    While the hailstorm lasted minutes, everyone inside the car said it felt much longer.

    "I was like I just want it to stop already and be done with all of this," said Cabrera.

    Storm System Spawns Killer Tornado in Arkansas

    The powerful storm system that rumbled through Texas Sunday morning went on to spawn a massive tornado that killed at least 16 people in central Arkansas.

    The Arkansas tornado touched down about 10 miles west of Little Rock at around 7 p.m. and moved northeastward for at least 30 miles, the National Weather Service reported.

    Matt DeCample, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, said early Monday that Sunday night's tornado that passed through several suburbs west and north of Little Rock killed five people each in Pulaski and Faulkner counties and one person in White County.

    The tornado, which grew to be a half-mile wide, turned buildings into rubble and stripped the leaves and smaller branches off of trees.

    North Texas American Red Cross Mobilizes

    The American Red Cross-North Texas Region is mobilizing to help in Arkansas. The first crew will leave the Dallas Chapter's headquarters at 8:30 a.m. Monday headed to Little Rock. The crew will take an unstocked feeling ruck and will load up on supplies in Arkansas.

    Anita Foster, with the American Red Cross, said additional volunteers and relief vehicles will be on standby for deployment in the coming days.

    Deadly Twister Strikes Oklahoma

    Less than two hours before the Arkansas tornado struck, a twister hit the small northeastern Oklahoma community of Quapaw, killing one person and injuring six others, Ottawa County sheriff's dispatcher Kelli Soechs said.

    Five of the six injured in Quapaw were treated and released from Baptist Regional Health Center in Miami, Okla., said hospital spokeswoman Kristie Wallace. The sixth, who was in fair condition with a broken bone, was kept overnight, she said.

    Ottawa County Emergency Management director Joe Dan Morgan said Quapaw, which has about 900 residents, was heavily damaged by the tornado."Looks like about half of town got extensive damage as well as the fire department," Morgan said.

    After hitting Quapaw, the tornado moved northward into Kansas and struck Baxter Springs, a city of about 4,200 residents about five miles away. Cherokee County, Kan., sheriff's dispatcher Josh Harvey said the tornado that hit Baxter Springs injured several people and caused extensive damage, but that no deaths had been reported. He said first responders were going from house to house checking on residents' wellbeing.

    Tornadoes also touched down Sunday in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.

    Click here for more coverage of the deadly tornadoes from NBCNews.com.

    NBC 5's Ray Villeda and the Associated Press's Tim Talley and Christina Huynh contributed to this report.