Foul weather: Tornadoes, storms, snow smack Texas
Man killed by falling tree near Houston; thousands without power in parts of state.
A strong storm system that moved across Texas on Tuesday spawned at least three tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and heavy snow, as well as winds that knocked down trees, including one that killed a man near Houston.
More than 20,000 customers in the Houston area were without power — down from a previous estimate of more than 70,000 — and nearly 20,000 more lost power in parts of East Texas and western Louisiana.
In the Austin area, stiff winds blew well into the evening, making waves and the occasional whitecap along the surface of Lady Bird Lake. The winds lost some of their gusto around 8 p.m., and temperatures began to drop toward an expected overnight low in the upper 20s.
Wednesday is expected to be clear, with high temperatures in the mid-40s and wind gusts up to 20 miles per hour. Rain is not expected, said Steve Smart, a forecaster with the National Weather Service. The rest of the week should be slightly warmer, with highs in the high 50s and low 60s and lows in the low 30s.
By midafternoon Tuesday, the storm system had moved from Texas into Louisiana. But as the cold front dipped southward, heavy snow began to fall in North Texas, including in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Freezing temperatures were even forecast for parts of deep South Texas.
Greg Carbin, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, said as much as 3 to 6 inches of snow could fall in parts of North Texas by Wednesday morning.
At least two tornadoes — products of the cold front colliding with warm Gulf air — touched down in East Texas in Trinity and Houston counties, Carbin said. Initial reports said no one was injured, but at least one building in Crockett was damaged. A third tornado was spotted in that city but did not cause any damage.
Harris County sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland said a 25-year-old man died after winds knocked a tree onto his pickup about 9:40 a.m.
CenterPoint Energy Inc. said on its website that more than 20,000 customers remained without power in the Houston area late Tuesday afternoon. Entergy Corp. reported on its website that nearly 20,000 customers in East Texas and western Louisiana were without power.
Elsewhere, strong winds and snow produced near-whiteout conditions in western Oklahoma. Up to a foot of snow was forecast for a narrow band stretching from Little Rock, Ark., to Cleveland. And in the West, rain and mountain snow fell as a Pacific storm moved ashore.