Stranded drivers and reported damage after possible tornado in Houston area

Stranded drivers and reported damage after possible tornado in Houston area



CNN

Emergency services in the Houston area say they are responding to reports of damage and stranded motorists after a possible tornado tore through the area Tuesday.

Structural damage from a tornado in Pasadena, about 15 miles southeast of Houston, is “catastrophic,” according to the local police chief.

“In my 25 years here, this is probably the worst damage I’ve ever seen,” Chief Josh Bruegger told reporters outside a damaged animal shelter in the city, where two dogs were injured.

Only one person has been reported injured so far in the city, Mayor Jeff Wagner said, but “we have seen a lot of damage. We have seen buildings that have collapsed.”

The police chief said the cleanup will require a lot of work. “For the next few days, we’re going to have our hands full,” he said.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Department was “responding to a large number of stranded motorists” Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted. The department had prepared its high water rescue vehicles before the storm, he said.

There were reports of “several commercial trucks overturned” near Beltway 8, the beltway around the city of Houston, the Pasadena Police Department he tweeted, and some power lines were reported to be down.

“Our officers and the Fire Department are working to help those immediately affected,” the department tweeted.

More than 113,000 electric customers lost power in Texas on Tuesday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us.

In Deer Park, just northeast of Pasadena, a nursing home suffered structural damage and about 59 residents were evacuated, Deer Park Mayor Jerry Mouton told CNN.

An ambulance bus that was capable of carrying up to two dozen patients was dispatched to the scene as a precaution, according to Jerry Dilliard of the Atascocita Fire Department, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

A tornado emergency was declared Tuesday for the southeast Houston metropolitan area, where “a confirmed large and destructive tornado was observed over northwest Pasadena moving northeast at 60 mph,” according to the National Weather Service in Houston.

Other locations in the path of this tornado included Deer Park, Baytown, Highlands and Channelview, according to the weather service.

With the storm moving east, a tornado watch is in effect for much of southern Louisiana Tuesday afternoon and evening, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans, affecting more than 3 million people.

“Some tornadoes [are] likely, with a couple of intense tornadoes possible,” the Storm Prediction Center warned. Damaging wind gusts to 70 mph are also possible.

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