January 31, 2023

By Aya Elamroussi, CNN

More than a dozen reported tornadoes hit communities in Texas and Louisiana, damaging many homes and businesses as buildings’ windows and roofs blew out — and the threat is expected to remain in other southern states Wednesday.

A massive, multi-day storm is bringing mixed effects across much of the U.S. this week, with parts of Alabama, Florida and Mississippi under a tornado watch through 5 a.m. Wednesday, while snow is also expected in the Midwest.

“A winter storm will move into the Mid-Mississippi Valley by Wednesday morning. Areas of heavy snowfall and a wintry mix over Oklahoma and the Ozarks will extend northeast into the Ohio Valley by early Wednesday,” according to the National Weather Service said on Twitter.

On Tuesday, the storm caused extensive damage to the Houston-area communities of Deer Park and Pasadena, where fallen trees and debris littered the streets and left thousands without power after power lines were downed.

“We saw a lot of damage. We’ve seen buildings collapse,” said Jeff Wagner, Mayor of Pasadena.

Josh Bruegger, the city’s police chief, described the damage as the worst he’d seen in 25 years, adding, “We’ve got our hands full in the coming days.”

In Deer Park, people who were at St. Hyacinth Catholic Church crouched in a hallway and closed all the doors when they heard what they believed to be a tornado rolling through the area, Father Reginald Samuels said.

“It got very noisy, we heard glass breaking and the building was shaking, then it was quiet,” Samuels told CNN, adding that no one was hurt.

Damage was also reported at a nursing home in Deer Park, prompting the evacuation of about 60 residents Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Jerry Mouton told CNN. There were no reports of injuries, according to Jerry Dilliard of the Atascocita Fire Department. CNN reached out to the nursing home operator on Tuesday for more information.

With cleanup efforts underway at Deer Park, schools in the city will be closed on Wednesday, the district said.

“We hope this gives families a chance to recover from the stress of today’s events, and we believe the best thing for children to do is be with their parents or guardians after a natural disaster,” the district said in one Statement sent to parents and staff Tuesday night.

“It appears that many homes and businesses in our area have been damaged and some neighborhoods remain without power at this time,” the statement continued.

Photos of damage at Deer Park show tree branches lying on roads, roofs blown off buildings and damaged vehicles.

More than 100,000 homes and businesses in Texas and Arkansas were left in the dark early Wednesday morning, according to tracking site PowerOutage.us. As of 9 p.m. ET, at least 14 tornadoes have been reported in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

In the community of Beauregard, Louisiana, the sheriff’s office reported extensive damage to homes and other buildings, and found roads blocked and power lines down. In Louisiana, nearly 16,000 homes and businesses were without power early Wednesday morning.

Overall, there were no reports of serious injuries related to Tuesday’s storm damage, with Pasadena officials reporting one injury.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Andy Rose, Robert Shackelford, Jamiel Lynch, Amanda Jackson, Taylor Ward, Joe Sutton, and Jillian Sykes contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *