SPUR, Texas (AP) — The Latest on severe weather affecting Southern Plains states in the US (all times local):
Fire officials in Fort Worth, Texas, say two children were electrocuted by power lines downed during violent weather.
Severe thunderstorms, some that included tornadoes, hit north Texas and Oklahoma on Tuesday. Oncor, the local electric utility in Fort Worth, reported damage to its system after the storms went through, including in the Oakland Lake Park area.
The severe weather threat shifted east Wednesday, covering an area from near Kansas City, Missouri, to the Gulf Coast. Even stronger storms are expected Thursday in parts of Mississippi and Tennessee.
A tornado classified by the National Weather Service as EF-0 to EF-1 struck an apartment complex in southwestern Houston on Wednesday morning. The wind damaged carports, windows and roofs but caused no reported injuries. The ratings mean the storm winds were estimated at 60 to 110 mph.
About 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, damaging winds dropped a shipping container on a truck, injuring two people, at the Barbours Cut container port near LaPorte, about 20 miles east of Houston. Port of Houston spokeswoman Lisa Ashley said about 20 shipping containers were scattered by the wind. The area was under a tornado warning at the time of the incident, but Ashley said she could not confirm the wind was a tornado.
The spring storm risk is persisting in parts of the Southern Plains, with more than 21 million people at risk for bad weather.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says an area stretching from Louisiana to central Missouri, including all of Arkansas, could see very large hail, strong tornadoes and powerful winds Wednesday. The storm system is moving eastward after striking Tuesday in Texas and Oklahoma, where a truck driver was killed when high winds toppled his semitrailer.
In Texas, three storm chasers were killed Tuesday when their vehicles collided.
Forecasters say the storm risk will increase Thursday as the system moves into Tennessee and Mississippi. Already, forecasters say the severe-weather risk is moderate. That’s the second-highest classification from the Storm Prediction Center.
Forecasters say they expect “an active severe weather event” Thursday for parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
A powerful storm system with winds exceeding 60 mph (95 kph) has damaged homes in suburban Dallas, knocked out power to tens of thousands across Texas and brought heavy rain that inundated some areas.
Roofs and walls were ripped away early Wednesday from homes in Rockwall, northeast of Dallas. The city’s mayor, Jim Pruitt, said one person suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
It’s the same area where a powerful storm in December 2015 spawned tornadoes and damaged or destroyed more than 400 homes and buildings in nearby Rowlett. Thirteen lives were lost in the storm area then.
Wednesday’s strong system later moved through East Texas on its way toward Arkansas and Louisiana.
The power outages in the Dallas-Fort Worth area forced the closure of schools or caused delays.
Fallen tree limbs and rising waterways were among the obstacles for motorists during the Wednesday morning commute.
The Weather Channel says two of its contractors were among the three storm chasers killed in a crash in West Texas during severe weather.
The channel said in a statement that Kelley Williamson and Randy Yarnall were “beloved members of the weather community” who’d worked as contractors for the channel. The Texas Department of Public Safety says the two died Tuesday along with another storm chaser, 25-year-old Corbin Lee Jaeger of Peoria, Arizona.
Williamson and Yarnall were both from Cassville, Missouri.
Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Gonzalez says a Chevrolet Suburban driven by Williamson ran a stop sign and slammed into a Jeep driven by Jaeger. Yarnall was a passenger in the Suburban. All three were killed instantly. The crash happened at a remote intersection near the town of Spur, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) southeast of Lubbock. Tornadoes had been reported nearby at the time of the crash and heavy rain had been reported in the area.
Authorities say a truck driver was killed when powerful winds upended his tractor-trailer on an Oklahoma interstate, while three storm chasers died in a collision as they raced toward a tornado-warned storm in West Texas.
The storms that bore down on Texas and Oklahoma late Tuesday brought tornadoes, tennis ball-sized hail and powerful winds, but no widespread damage was reported.
In Oklahoma, the truck driver was killed after strong winds pushed his rig off the interstate in El Reno, outside Oklahoma City. Forecasters confirmed a 95 mph (150 kph) wind gust in the area when the crash occurred.
In Texas, the three storm chasers were killed when a driver ran a stop sign and slammed into an oncoming vehicle. The crash happened at a remote intersection about 55 miles (90 kilometers) southeast of Lubbock.
This story has been corrected to show that Corbin Lee Jaeger was the driver of the Jeep involved in the fatal wreck Tuesday that killed three storm chasers in West Texas. Randy Yarnall was a passenger in the other vehicle.
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