Storm brings tornado damage to Gulf Coast region of Texas | Weather news

About 123,000 people are without power after a major storm hit the southern United States on Tuesday.

A powerful storm system targeted the United States’ Gulf Coast on Tuesday, spawning a damaging tornado east of Houston, Texas, the nation’s fourth-most populous city.

The National Weather Service issued an emergency tornado warning for the area, warning that a “large, extremely dangerous and potentially deadly tornado” was on the ground Tuesday afternoon and headed toward Baytown, Texas, about 40 km (25 miles) east of Houston. However, the warning expired as the storm system moved east.

There were downed power lines and damage to homes and businesses in Baytown, but no serious injuries were reported, city spokesman Jason Calder said.

Footage from Houston TV station KTRK shows damage to buildings and power lines in Pasadena, Texas, a city southeast of Houston, including a broken door at a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership. Several businesses suffered significant damage, including the city’s animal shelter. Fences were down nearby and shingles and parts of roofs were torn from houses, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The Shell Chemicals plant in nearby Deer Park was flaring, or burning natural gas, after losing power due to bad weather, according to Shell spokesman Curtis Smith.

“We are taking steps to minimize noise, light or smoke associated with this activity, although it is expected to continue until the units are restarted,” Smith said via email. “There is no threat to the community, nor is there any indication that the nearby tornado touched down at the Chemicals facility.”

The website, which collects live outage data from utilities across the U.S., reported that about 123,000 Texas customers were without power Tuesday afternoon, mostly in the Houston area and surrounding counties.

It was the start of what was expected to be a stormy day along the US Gulf Coast. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said areas along the coast from Houston to northwest Florida could see tornadoes, strong winds and hail on Tuesday.

The storm system also brought snow and ice to much of the central US.

Schools and businesses were closed Tuesday and Wednesday across Oklahoma, which saw snow totals of 3-15 cm (1-6 inches) in central and eastern parts of the state. Additionally, several school districts in southwest Louisiana dismissed students early Tuesday in anticipation of inclement weather in the area.

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