HOUSTON (AP) — A strong storm system that moved across Texas on Christmas Day spawned at least three tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, heavy snow and brisk winds that knocked down trees, killing one person near Houston.
More than 20,000 customers in the Houston area were without power — down from a previous estimate of more than 70,000 — and nearly 20,000 more lost power in parts of East and Central Texas.
By mid-afternoon, the tornado and thunderstorm warnings had ended as the storm system moved into Louisiana. But as the cold front dipped southward, heavy snow began to fall in North Texas, including in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Freezing temperatures were even forecast for parts of deep South Texas by nightfall.
Snow was falling at a rate of an inch to 1.5 inches an hour in parts of North Texas along the Oklahoma border on Tuesday afternoon, said Greg Carbin, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.
"There is a band across a few counties up there in North Texas where it looks like it will snow pretty heavily," he said.
Visibility at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was down to a half-mile, and in downtown Dallas, visibility was at a quarter-mile.
Carbin said forecasters had initially expected about one to two inches of snow in those areas, but snow was falling more quickly than had been expected.
"They could be in the band for a few more hours ... maybe 3 to 6 inches," Carbin said. "It looks pretty interesting."
During the severe weather earlier Tuesday, Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Gilliland said a 25-year-old man died after winds knocked a tree onto his Ford F-150 pickup truck. The incident occurred around 9:40 a.m. in northwest Harris County, he said.