Foul weather: Tor­na­does, storms, snow smack Texas

Man killed by fall­ing tree near Hous­ton; thou­sands with­out power in parts of state.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Ad­di­tional ma­te­rial from Amer­i­can-States­man staff writer Marty Toohey.

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.

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