February 1, 2023

A winter storm, bringing severe weather to the Gulf Coast and wintry precipitation to the north, moved east Wednesday, a day after tornadoes caused widespread damage in the Houston area and injured three people in Louisiana.

On Tuesday, forecasters issued a rare tornado emergency for the Houston area as the storm system moved through the densely populated area. Significant damage was reported in cities east of Houston, but there were no reports of injuries.

In Louisiana, three people suffered “minor to moderate injuries” when their RVs were overturned or destroyed after a tornado hit the Morel Lane area north of Baton Rouge, the Pointe Coupee Community Sheriff’s Office said.

Wednesday’s storm should bring damaging winds to parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, forecasters said. The winter weather warnings stretched from southern Missouri to Maine, with 8 to 12 inches of snow expected in areas of New England, the National Weather Service said.

SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN ENSURE DEATHS, TRAVEL INTERRUPTIONS DURING HEAVY SNOWSTORM

In Texas, several businesses in Pasadena, east of Houston, suffered major damage, including the city’s animal shelter. Fences were knocked down nearby, and clapboards and parts of roofs were torn from houses. The American Red Cross announced that it would open an animal shelter in Pasadena.

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

Officials at nearby Deer Park said the tornado severely damaged a nursing home. Residents had to be evacuated, but no one was injured.

“One aspect of me is amazed that no one was hurt,” Deer Park Mayor Jerry Mouton Jr. said while emergency responders worked to restore power. “We will take care of the property and salvage and rebuild it.”

Many of the suburbs in the area have a strong presence of petrochemical plants.

Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said natural gas was flared or burned at Shell Chemicals’ Deer Park site after it lost steam due to severe weather.

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

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

Schools and businesses remained closed in parts of Oklahoma on Wednesday, where snowfalls ranging from 1 to 6 inches fell in central and eastern parts of the state. More than 160,000 homes and businesses were without power in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri on Wednesday morning after heavy snow fell in the Ozarks a day earlier.

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