More than a dozen reported tornadoes hit communities in Texas and Louisiana, damaging many homes and businesses as windows and roofs were blown off buildings – and the threat is expected to persist Wednesday in other states across the country. south.
Nearly 42,000 customers were without power in Texas on Wednesday morning, according to tracking site PowerOutage.us, ahead of a massive multi-day storm expected to affect much of the United States this week.
A tornado watch is in effect until 11 a.m. for southeast Alabama and the central and eastern Florida Panhandle, according to the Storm Prediction Center, which said strong thunderstorms would move through the area Wednesday morning. A few tornadoes and isolated damaging wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour are possible.
Meanwhile, a “winter storm will move through the central Mississippi Valley by Wednesday morning. Areas of heavy snow and winter mix over Oklahoma and the Ozarks will extend northeast into the Ohio Valley through early Wednesday,” the National Weather Service said. said on Twitter.
On Tuesday, the storm inflicted extensive damage on the Houston-area communities of Deer Park and Pasadena, where downed trees and debris littered the streets and thousands of people were without power after power lines fell.
“We saw a lot of damage. We’ve seen buildings that have collapsed,” Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner said.
Josh Bruegger, the city’s police chief, described the damage as the worst he’s seen in 25 years, adding: “For the days ahead, we’re going to have our hands full.”
In Deer Park, people at St. Hyacinth Catholic Church hunkered down in a hallway and closed all doors upon hearing what they believe was a tornado in the area, Father Reginald Samuels said.
“It got really loud, we heard glass breaking and the building was shaking and then it was quiet,” Samuels told CNN, adding that no one was hurt.
Damage was also reported at a retirement home in Deer Park, prompting the evacuation of about 60 residents Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Jerry Mouton told CNN. No injuries were reported, according to Jerry Dilliard of the Atascocita Fire Department. CNN reached out to the nursing home operator on Tuesday for more information.
While cleanup efforts are underway in Deer Park, schools across the city will close on Wednesday, the district said.
“We hope this will give families a chance to recover from the stress of today’s events, and we believe it is best for children to be with their parents or guardians after a natural disaster,” the district said. in a statement sent to parents and employees. Tuesday evening.
“It appears that many homes and businesses in our area have been damaged, and some neighborhoods remain without power at this time,” the statement continued.
Photos of damage in Deer Park show tree branches lying on roads, roofs torn from buildings and damaged vehicles.
As of 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, at least 14 tornadoes had been reported in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.
In Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, the sheriff’s office reported extensive damage to homes and other buildings, noting that roads were blocked and power lines were down. Nearly 16,000 homes and businesses were also without power in Louisiana early Wednesday morning.
Overall, there were no reports of serious injuries associated with damage from Tuesday’s storm, with Pasadena officials reporting one injury.