Tornado causes damage east of Houston; No injuries reported

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PASADENA, Texas (TSTIME) — A powerful storm system targeted the Gulf Coast Tuesday, spawning a tornado that downed power poles and power lines, overturned vehicles and ripped roofs off homes and businesses in communities east of Houston. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

The National Weather Service had declared a tornado emergency for that area, warning that a “large, extremely dangerous, and potentially deadly tornado” was on the ground Tuesday afternoon and headed toward Baytown, about 25 miles east of Houston. The warning expired as the system moved east, leaving cooler temperatures behind.

Footage from Houston TV station KTRK shows major damage to several businesses, including the city’s animal shelter. Nearby, fences were knocked down and shingles and parts of roofs were ripped off houses, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The American Red Cross said it was opening a shelter in Pasadena.

In Baytown, there were downed power lines and damage to homes and businesses, but no reports of serious injuries, Baytown spokesman Jason Calder said.

Officials in nearby Deer Park said the tornado caused severe damage to a nursing home. Residents had to be evacuated, but no one was injured.

The employees of Mr. Electric, Héctor Vázquéz, left, and Lucas Perry pass a phone outside their office building where they were working when on January 24, 2023, a powerful storm system hit and spawned a tornado in Deer Park, Texas.

Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via TSTIME

“There’s one aspect of me that’s surprised no one was hurt,” said Mouton. “We will handle and restore and rebuild the property.”

Many of the area’s suburbs have a large presence of petrochemical industrial sites.

The Shell Chemicals site in Deer Park was flaring, or burning natural gas, after it lost steam due to severe weather, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said.

The website PowerOutage.us, which compiles live power outage data from utilities across the United States, reported that about 67,000 customers in Texas were without power Tuesday night, mostly in the Houston area and surrounding counties. The site reported about 28,000 outages in neighboring Arkansas and about 25,000 in Louisiana.

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

Schools and businesses were closed throughout Oklahoma on Tuesday, where a total of between 1 and 6 inches (3 and 15 centimeters) of snow fell in the central and eastern parts of the state. Several southwestern Louisiana school districts fired students early Tuesday in anticipation of severe weather in the area.

Murphy reported from Oklahoma City.

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