Tornado tornado hits Texas, no injuries reported

Tornado tornado hits Texas, no injuries reported

PASADENA, Texas - A powerful storm system took aim at the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, causing a tornado that downed utility 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 issued a tornado emergency for that area, warning that a large, extremely dangerous and potentially deadly tornado was on the ground Tuesday and headed for Baytown, about 25 miles east of Houston. The warning expired as the system moved to the east, leaving behind cooler temperatures.

Strong winds damaged commercial buildings, homes and power lines in nearby Pasadena, a city southeast of Houston. The utility poles and power lines were downed, and several vehicles, including a trailer, were damaged or flipped over in a parking lot.

Footage from Houston TV station KTRK showed that several businesses suffered major damage, including the city's animal shelter. Fences were laid over and shingles and sections of roofs were torn from homes, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

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

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

The tornado caused severe damage to a nursing home, according to officials in nearby Deer Park. Residents had to be taken away, but no one was hurt.

Deer Park Mayor Jerry Mouton Jr.Mouton Jr. urged anyone who needed to stay outside the city as emergency crews worked to restore power.

There is one aspect of me that is amazed that no one got injured, Mouton said. We will deal with the property and recover and rebuild. Many of the suburbs in the area have a large presence of petrochemical industry sites.

Shell Chemicals' location in Deer Park was flaring, or burning off natural gas after it lost steam because of severe weather, according to Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith.

Smith said via email that we are taking precautions to minimize any noise, light, or smoke associated with this activity, though it is expected to continue until the units are restarted. There isn't a threat to the community, nor is there any indication that a nearby tornado touched down within the Chemicals facility. The website collected live power outage data from utilities across the United States, and reported 67,000 Texas customers were without power Tuesday night, mostly in the Houston area and surrounding counties. There were about 28,000 outages in neighboring Arkansas and about 25,000 in Louisiana, according to the site.

Snow and ice was brought to much of the central U.S. by the storm system.

Schools and businesses were closed Tuesday across Oklahoma, which saw snowfall totals of between 1 and 6 inches in central and eastern parts of the state. Several school districts in southwest Louisiana dismissed students early Tuesday because of severe weather in the area.