Pilot Reported Smoke Before Deadly Mississippi Plane Crash, FAA Says

iStock/Thinkstock(TUPELO, Miss.) -- Four people were killed Monday morning when their private plane crashed in a field in Tupelo, Mississippi, shortly after takeoff, authorities say.

In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said that the Beech BE36 crashed a half-mile from Tupelo Regional Airport at around 8:30 a.m. local time. Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre said Monday that the plane was "briefly" in the air before it crashed.

The FAA said the plane was carrying three passengers and a pilot.

The single-engine private plane was heading to Charlottesville, Virginia, according to FlightAware. The plane had taken off from Kerrville, Texas, and landed in Tupelo Sunday.

The names of the deceased had not yet been released.

The FAA said the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit before the crash. "We got smoke in our cockpit. We need to come back around," the pilot could be heard saying on air-traffic control audio.

"From what I can tell you right now there's quite a bit of debris," Aguirre said Monday during a news conference. "The wreckage is very broken up."

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating the crash.

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California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfires

California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfiresGoogle Earth(NEW YORK) -- Ravaged by a slew of deadly wildfires in recent days, northern California is set to get a bit of relief this week in the form of rain.

A storm system is expected to move over the Pacific Northwest later this week and the trailing cold front will most likely bring some much-needed rain to northern California between Thursday and Friday, according to ABC meteorologists.

"It will rain a bit but not enough to fully douse the blazes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said in a statement Tuesday. "The biggest advantage to firefighters will be the increase in humidity and lower temperatures."

Massive wildfires have charred more than 245,000 acres of land statewide in the past week, killing at least 41 people and destroying thousands of homes, according to authorities.

Firefighters were battling about a dozen wildfires as of late Tuesday evening, although most of them were more than halfway contained.

“The weather today will be warm with low humidity, which will continue to challenge firefighters, but only light winds are forecast,” CalFire said in a statement on Tuesday. “A chance of precipitation is expected to arrive later in the week, bringing relief from the dry conditions.”

The northern parts of the Golden State, which has bared the brunt of the fire damage, is forecast to see an influx of cloudy, cooler and wetter weather later in the week, according to AccuWeather.

Spotter from Los Osos was reporting sprinkles from this high level moisture. Dry at lower levels. Rain evaporates. Also called "Virga" #cawx pic.twitter.com/sgxj3bdXZQ

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 18, 2017

However, a return of dry air, heat and areas of gusty winds could once again raise the wildfire danger early next week, meteorologists said.

Separately, a band of moisture, referred to as Atmospheric River by weather experts, is currently stretching between Asia and North America. It’s expected to bring several storm systems into many parts of the Pacific Northwest through the rest of the week.

The first of these storms have already hit the Pacific Northwest with wind gusts of between 40 and 74 mph.

A number of wind warnings and flood watches are in effect in the western and northern parts of the U.S. ahead of the storm.

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