A tornado touches down near Houston as strong southern storms move eastThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
A tornado tore through communities southeast of Houston on Tuesday, destroying a senior living center near the city and causing other damage as a strengthening storm ripped through the Gulf Coast and began to spread northeast across the United States.
As the storm moved into Louisiana from Texas on Tuesday, three people were hospitalized with minor to moderate injuries after storms damaged mobile homes in an area northwest of Baton Rouge. This was reported by the Advocate newspaper. A police official with the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed the report but declined to provide other details.
A tornado watch that affected more than two million residents was in effect for parts of Alabama, Florida and Mississippi early Wednesday morning and more than 124,000 customers in Arkansas and Texas there was no electricityaccording to PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks power outages.
The National Weather Service office in New Orleans warned that severe tornadoes and wind gusts of up to 70 mph are possible along the Gulf Coast until about 6 a.m. ET.
Rain, thunderstorms and flash flooding were possible across the Southeast Wednesday, along with heavy rain in a corridor stretching from Virginia to Boston, the weather service says a forecast. Heavy snow is also expected to hit parts of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Wednesday and Thursday. More than 20 million people in those regions were under winter storm warnings as dawn approached Wednesday.
After the storm hit Texas on Tuesday, emergency crews in Deer Park, about 29 miles south of Houston, and nearby Pasadena were clearing debris from roads and responding to calls for help.
The storm hit Deer Park just before 3 p.m., destroying San Jacinto Manor, a senior center, city officials said. No one was injured and the city said it was able to relocate the center’s 59 residents by Tuesday evening.
Emergency crews are assessing the damage in Deer Park, which includes downed power lines and damage to homes, Mayor Jerry Mouton said.
No injuries or deaths were reported, although the police department said dozens of calls were coming in and help could take longer than expected.
Conditions were similar in Pasadena, a city next to Deer Park and about 14 miles southeast of Houston, where the tornado touched down around 2:30 p.m. It caused extensive damage to homes and businesses, but no injuries were reported, said Raul Granados, a spokesman for Pasadena Police Department. The American Red Cross and Salvation Army coordinated food assistance and shelters for people who lost their homes.
The animal shelter in Pasadena sustained “significant damage,” including a partial roof collapse, Sergeant Granados said. No employees were injured, and two dogs suffered minor injuries.
More than 70 animals were transported to temporary shelters Tuesday night, said Laura Mireles, a spokeswoman for City Hall. There was significant damage to homes in two buildings.
Flooded streets blocked a Waller Independent School District school busabout 40 miles northwest of Houston, causing the high school students to be transferred to another vehicle.
A Shell chemical plant in Deer Park was experiencing “flaring”, or controlled gas burning, which sends a flame down a smoke stack, due to “loss of steam in place” as a result of bad weather. the company announced on Twitter. The blaze did not endanger the public, said Curtis Smith, a spokesman.
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas said he directed The Texas Department of Emergency Management is readying the state’s response resources, adding that authorities at every level are on standby. More than 100 flights were canceled and more than 500 were delayed Tuesday at Houston’s George W. Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking company.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for suburbs east of Houston around 2:30 p.m. local time. A tornado emergency is “an extremely rare tornado warning issued when there is a serious threat to human life and catastrophic damage from an impending or ongoing tornado,” according to Meteorological Service.
In Louisiana, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness tweeted messages on storm safety. “We are facing another severe weather threat this week,” the agency said, urging residents to remain vigilant. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency sent similar storm preparation messages.
New Orleans was struck by a deadly tornado last month when a series of storms swept across the South. And last March, two tornadoes touched down in the area around the city, killing at least one person and leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
Scientists have been able to make a connection between a warming planet and hurricanes, heat waves and droughts. The same cannot yet be said for tornadoes, even as scientists discover trends around tornadoes and their behavior.
Derrick Bryson Taylor and Jesus Jimenez contributed reporting.
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