An outbreak of severe weather spawned dozens of tornadoes across the central and southern Plains this week, leaving extensive damage in their wake.
The severe storms struck areas from northern Texas to Nebraska, with preliminary reports of more than 50 tornadoes, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
"Many of the storms that formed Wednesday were known as high-precipitation supercells," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Ben Noll said.
"Such storms contain very heavy rain that can hide tornadoes from clear view. Also, several tornadoes contained multiple vortices and touched down and lifted back up above the ground frequently, making it difficult to spot the classic tornado structure," he said.
Extensive damage to homes and businesses was reported across Nebraska and Oklahoma.
In Tuttle, Oklahoma, a tornado touched down at Tiger Safari, an exotic wildlife refuge. The owners of the zoological park confirmed that some exotic animals were on the loose and asked residents in the area to stay inside.
Late in the evening, the Grady County Sheriff's Office confirmed that all animals had been accounted for.
More than a dozen people were sustained injuries as a result of the outbreak. One woman also died after becoming trapped in a shelter, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Drenching downpours inundated several cities including Lincoln, Nebraska, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Seven inches of rain fell in a span of seven hours, marking the first time a flash flood emergency was ever declared for Oklahoma City.
In addition to the United States, severe weather also spread across Europe this week, with strong thunderstorms honing in on areas from the Netherlands to Germany.
The storms unleashed torrential rainfall, large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.
Supercell thunderstorms also spawned at least two tornadoes in northern Germany. One tornado tracked near Ludwigslust, while another moved through the town of Schwerin before moving into Bützow.
The tornado in Büztow caused significant damage to local buildings.
In addition to widespread severe weather, a tropical system was brewing in the Atlantic Ocean this week.
The system, now named Subtropical Storm Ana, will affect part of the southern Atlantic coast of the United States with rain, wind and rough surf through the weekend.
Ana marks the first named tropical system of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.
As a result of the storm, rain arrived along the Carolina coast on Thursday and could continue into early next week.
"While there remains some uncertainty about the track of the storm, the mostly likely areas for the storm to wander onshore are from northern South Carolina to southeastern North Carolina," AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.
Several AccuWeather.com staff writers and meteorologists contributed content to this article.