(NewsNation) — Tornadoes touched down in Texas and Louisiana as a powerful storm system that dumped heavy snow in California pushed through the Southern Plains and into the Deep South on Thursday, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights into and out of the Dallas-area.
Wind gusts of over 70 mph were reported in Texas as tornado watches were issued into Thursday night in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. National Weather Service teams planned to head out Friday to survey areas for likely tornado damage in the storm’s path, which stretched from southeast Oklahoma into Texas and neighboring Arkansas and Louisiana.
North of Dallas, winds brought down trees, ripped the roof off a grocery store and overturned four 18-wheelers along U.S. Route 75. Only minor injuries were reported, police said.
About 100 miles east of Dallas, a twister that hit the ground near the small town of Fouke moved northeast toward Texarkana at 55 mph, the weather service said.
More than 229,000 utility customers in Texas had no electricity late Thursday night, according to poweroutage.us.
The storm also caused trouble at airports.
Flight-tracking website FlightAware.com reported more than 1,000 delays or cancellations either into or out of both Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field on Thursday as the storm moved across the state.
A ground stop was issued at DFW at one point in the evening.
Further east in Louisiana, a tornado touched down near Louisiana State University in Shreveport.
“This is the same system that struck California and it’s now in New Mexico and will be crossing Texas and then Arkansas,” said Rich Thompson, lead forecaster for the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
The storm is projected to traverse further northeast Friday into Arkansas, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, among other states. High wind advisories were in effect Thursday across at least a dozen states stretching from Texas to South Carolina.
While heavy rains were expected to pummel states on the southern edge of the system, snow will blanket states on the northern edge. Upwards of 6 inches could fall in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
“This heavy snow potential will then spread into portions of the Northeast and New England Friday night into Saturday, with snow totals of 6 to 12 inches or more possible across Upstate and Northern New York, all of Vermont, New Hampshire, northern Massachusetts and southern Maine,” the weather service said.
Meanwhile, record highs were expected to continue in Florida. A fire weather watch is in effect through Friday night for several areas along the state’s eastern coast.
On the other side of the country, below-average temperatures are forecast this weekend from the West Coast to west of the Rockies.
“Additional record or near-record cold maximum temperatures are possible again on Saturday along much of coastal California,” the weather service said.
Meteorologists say the storm produced a “once-in-a-generation” snow in California and Oregon with up to 7 feet accumulating in spots.
The snowfall, however, is credited with helping reduce, and in some areas eliminate, drought conditions in California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.