Parts of U.S. South under tornado watch as storms pound coastal states

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 02, 2017 4:29 PM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A severe storm system hit the U.S. South with heavy winds and hail on Monday, prompting a tornado watch for several states along the Gulf of Mexico coast.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood watches stretching from Texas into Georgia and a tornado watch for several states in the same area. There were no immediate reports of major injuries or deaths from the storm system.

"All severe hazards will be possible including damaging winds and tornadoes, especially across portions of southeast Louisiana and central and southern Mississippi through southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle," the National Weather Service said.

High winds knocked down power lines and trees in Texas, including in the Houston area, as well as in Louisiana and Mississippi, the service said. Hail fell in several states, including Alabama and Arkansas, it added.

More than 11,000 customers were without power as of Monday afternoon in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi because of the storm, utility companies reported.

The storms had limited impact on air travel, with 27 flights canceled at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport, one of the country's busiest, as of 3 p.m., according to tracking firm flightaware.com.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)