New Year’s Eve snow storm in Texas, possible tornados expected in South


MIDLAND, Texas (NewsNation Now) — A winter storm is dropping up to 18 inches of snow over western Texas this New Year’s Eve, while forecasters warn of possible tornadoes in the Deep South.

Jeremy Grams, a forecaster with the National Weather Services’ Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said 12 to 18 inches of snow was possible west of the Pecos River in southwest Texas, with another 3 to 5 inches predicted for western Oklahoma by Thursday.

Tornadoes are possible as the cold air moving eastward with the storm collides with moisture and warmer temperatures from the Gulf of Mexico, Grams said.

“On the warm side of the system we have the chance for tornadoes from southeast Texas across most of Louisiana and at least into southern Mississippi,” Grams said.

Grams said a wintry mix of precipitation and a threat of tornadoes is uncommon — but not unheard of — this time of year.

The storm produced what Grams said was a likely a brief tornado in Corsicana, Texas, about 50 miles south of Dallas shortly before noon Wednesday.

More than a dozen mobile homes were damaged in Corsicana, Navarro County officials said in a social media statement, but no injuries were reported. Two other homes were damaged by fallen trees.

The Navarro County Office of Emergency Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Grams said any tornadoes would likely be classified as EF2, with wind speeds of 111-135 mph, or below, compared to violent tornadoes which he said are those rated EF4 and above with wind speeds of 166 mph and higher.

Near Van Horn, Texas, drivers were stranded for hours late Wednesday after heavy snow led to several crashes along Interstate 10, NewsNation affiliate KTSM reported.

Many had to wait in their cars as snow continued to pile up.

Davey Samaniego captured footage of the traffic. He told Storyful that he was stuck in his vehicle for seven hours dur to the accidents.

Meanwhile, the national Storm Prediction Center warned of severe storms expected to strike southern states on Thursday.

The center said the area most at risk of severe weather includes parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and southeast Texas.

The region at enhanced risk of severe weather includes more than 4 million people and the metropolitan areas of New Orleans; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Beaumont, Texas.

“Tornadoes along with damaging wind gusts and large hail are all potential threats,” according to the National Weather Service office in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Forecasters say the risk of severe weather will later spread into Alabama and parts of the Florida Panhandle.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliates KXAN and KTSM contributed to this report.

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