Winter storm lashes southern US

Severe weather hits the Deep South bringing rain, snow and tornadoes to the state of Texas.

    Severe thunderstorms swept through Texas on Tuesday, bringing snow to the northern parts of the US state and heavy rain with damaging winds further south.

    The Houston metropolitan area was hit by two tornadoes, which ripped off house roofs, blew out windows and left tens of thousands of people without power.

    The National Weather Service said the twisters touched down in Fort Bend County, about 50km southwest of Houston, causing damage to structures.

    Tornado warnings were duly issued across large parts of Houston, which is the fourth most-populous city in the US

    More than 215,000 people were forced to shelter at the Houston Independent School until the storm passed through. CenterPoint Energy Inc said more than 20,000 customers were without power for a time.

    When the storms did move through, they were followed by a spell of heavy rain and snow. Waco recorded 53mm of rain in the 24 hours up to 18:00GMT on Tuesday.

    Rather more unusually, Amarillo had a dusting of snow. This part of the Texas Panhandle does not often sees snow and this covering did bring much of the city to a standstill.

    There were a number of accidents reported on the slippery roads.

    Conditions are now improving as warmer, drier air moves in from the west.


    SOURCE: Reuters news agency


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