About 123,000 people were left without power after the storm hit the southern United States on Tuesday.
A powerful hurricane made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States on Tuesday, creating a storm that devastated eastern Houston, Texas, the nation’s fourth most populous city.
The National Weather Service had issued a state of emergency for the region, warning that a “large, severe and very dangerous storm” was on the ground on Tuesday afternoon and was moving toward Baytown, Texas, about 40km (25 miles) east of Houston. However, the warning ended when the storm 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.
A Tornado Watch is now in effect for southeast TX. The weather threat will spread east through the afternoon with the risk of damaging winds and gusts.https://t.co/uNjJpziikk pic.twitter.com/JOnRzyoeTN
– National Weather Service (@NWS) January 24, 2023
Footage from Houston TV station KTRK shows damage to buildings and power lines in Pasadena, Texas, a city southeast of Houston, including collapsed doors at a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership. Several businesses were severely damaged, including a petting zoo in the city. Nearby, fences were blocked, and metal and roofs were torn from buildings, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
The Shell Chemicals plant near Deer Park was burning, or flaring gas, after losing steam due to bad weather, according to Shell spokesman Curtis Smith.
“We are taking steps to minimize any noise, light, or fumes associated with this project, although it is expected to continue until the units are restarted,” Smith said via email. “There is no threat to the community, and there is no indication that a tornado is imminent at the Chemicals site.”
The website PowerOutage.us, which collects information about power outages from across the US, said 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 coastal areas from Houston to northwest Florida could see heavy rain, gusty winds and snow on Tuesday.
The storm was also bringing snow and ice to much of the central US.
Schools and businesses were closed Tuesday and Wednesday across Oklahoma, where 3-15cm (1-6 inches) of snow fell in the central and eastern parts of the state. In addition, several schools in southwest Louisiana dismissed students Tuesday in anticipation of severe weather in the region.