The storms were part of a weather front that brought freezing rain and fog to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states early Monday.
A tornado moving northeast at 55 mph touched down and damaged at least two houses, ripping down trees and power lines near Fordyce, Ark., 70 miles south of state capital Little Rock, police said.
At least five other tornados touched down in the state, AccuWeather said.
No injuries were reported.
Tornado watches were in effect for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee early Monday.
Entergy Arkansas Inc. of Little Rock reported nearly 13,000 customers without power early Monday. Nashville Electric Service reported power outages for about 300 customers in the Nashville area.
Nearly 3-inch hail was reported in Griffith Spring, Ark., 40 miles northeast of Fordyce, police said.
Amateur radio operators cited by AccuWeather reported softball-size hail near England, Ark., 30 miles southeast of Little Rock.
Large hail was also reported in Newport and Brinkley, Ark.
The severe weather also brought heavy downpours with flooding, damaging winds and frequent lightning along a weather front separating warm air from cold, the Weather Channel reported.
The same weather front brought freezing rain and fog to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast early Monday, creating a treacherous glaze of ice and low visibility from Washington and Baltimore through Allentown, Pa., with freezing rain and drizzle stretching through New York's Hudson Valley and parts of Connecticut north to Albany, N.Y., Worcester, Mass., and Boston's suburbs, AccuWeather said.
Rain was to forecast to continue along the East Coast Monday as temperatures rose into the 50s from Washington to Philadelphia and into the 40s farther north.