Tornadoes touched down in Texas and Louisiana as a powerful storm system that dumped heavy snow in California moved eastward Thursday, knocking out power to more than 150,000 customers and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights into and out of Dallas.
Tornado warnings issued for Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding areas of Texas expired by late afternoon but strong winds and hail continued, according to the National Weather Service.
About 100 miles east of Dallas, a twister that hit the ground near the small town of Fouke moved northeast toward Texarkana at 55 mph, the weather service said.
The NWS Storm Prediction Center reported that a severe thunderstorm watch was in effect through midnight Thursday for parts of southeast Texas, including Houston and College Station.
Further east in Louisiana, a tornado touched down near Louisiana State University in Shreveport.
More than 150,000 homes and businesses in Texas had no electricity early Friday, according to the utility tracking website PowerOutage.us, but that was donw from some 338,000 earlier.
The Federal Aviation Administration briefly issued a ground stop at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Thursday afternoon due to the severe weather, CBS Texas reported, but it was later lifted.
“Normal operations are resuming after heavy winds and rains moved through our area,” the airport told CBS News in a statement Thursday night.
According to flight tracker FlightAware.com, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field had tallied more than 400 cancellations total, either to or from the airports.
Several school districts, including Dallas and Fort Worth, canceled after school activities and events because of the forecast.
“This is the same system that struck California and it’s now in New Mexico and will be crossing Texas and then Arkansas,” said Rich Thompson, lead forecaster for the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
He said high winds and large hail posed the greatest threats.
Meteorologists say the storm produced a “once-in-a-generation” snow in California and Oregon with up to 7 feet accumulating in spots.
The snowfall, however, is credited with helping reduce, and in some areas eliminate, drought conditions in California.