Thunderstorms pound Texas; tornado threat looms

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 25, 2012 9:58 AM
Thunderstorms pound Texas; tornado threat looms

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Thunderstorms pounded the San Antonio area with drenching rains and destructive winds early Wednesday as Texas braced for possible flooding and the threat of isolated tornados throughout the morning.

Some three inches of rain drenched San Antonio by early morning and Austin took more than 4 inches, according to AccuWeather.com.

Although most of the region "is still gripped in severe drought and very much needs the rain," too much, too fast was menacing, AccuWeather.com said.

The storms knocked out power for tens of thousands and closed dozens of flooded streets in San Antonio.

Forecasts called for powerful thunderstorms to push eastward into Louisiana.

Flash flood warnings were issued early for areas surrounding San Antonio and Austin while a tornado watch was in effect through the morning for parts of south central and southeast Texas.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for parts of Louisiana through the afternoon.

The severe weather in Texas follows damaging storms and tornadoes that swept through Arkansas and Alabama earlier in the week.

CPS Energy, the South Texas electric utility, reported more than 30,000 customers without power as wind snapped electric power lines and knocked out traffic signals during the morning rush hour.

Lightning hit an apartment complex on the city's north side as storms blew through early on Wednesday, sparking a fire that forced people into the driving rain and destroyed four apartments, fire officials said.

There were no reports of injuries.

(Additional reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Daniel Trotta)