The January tornado warnings currently affecting large swaths of the central and southeast United States are highly unusual for this time of year. Conditions favorable for tornadoes are currently being caused by an approaching cold front that is clashing with the unseasonably warm air (temperatures in New York City today are expected to reach 60 degrees.)
This storm's peak intensity will arrive Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday evening; and will grow stronger and larger over the next 12 to 18 hours.
On Tuesday night, strong storms in Arkansas (including two possible tornadoes in Missouri and Arkansas) left over 11,000 customers without power. Additionally, fallen trees mixed with lightning may be the cause of fires in the town of Monticello.
In recent years, the United States has been ravaged by severe tornados, with the 2011 storms in Joplin and Tuscaloosa weighing heavy on public memory. In January 2008, tornado season started unseasonably early with a four-day outbreak beginning on Janury 7 causing damage in Missouri and Arkansas.