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Severe storms aiming for six states; tornado hits San Antonio

March 20, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • Lightning rips through the sky over in Paris, Texas, on Monday, as severe thunderstorms moved through area.
Lightning rips through the sky over in Paris, Texas, on Monday, as severe… (Sam Craft / Paris News / Associated…)

A tornado touched down in San Antonio, striking from the leading edge of a severe weather system expected to move through about half a dozen states today. Flooding and more twisters were possible, officials said.

Flood warnings were posted from eastern Texas through the lower Mississippi Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

"Severe thunderstorms" were possible "for today into tonight from portions of Arkansas into eastern Texas, Louisiana and extreme southwestern Mississippi,” the weather service said. "Locally-damaging wind gusts will be the main hazard, though brief tornadoes will remain possible," it said.

Severe storms were also possible in Kansas and Missouri, forecasters warned.

Officials said they believe that a tornado touched down about 25 miles southwest of San Antonio on Monday evening. The extent of the damage was being examined today, a spokeswoman for the Medina County Sheriff’s Office said by telephone. No fatalities have been reported in connection with the storm, she said.

Power outages were reported in San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Outages were also reported in Oklahoma City and Tulsa County.

Although tornadoes remain a risk, the big weather worry today is the rain coming into areas that have been experiencing drought-like conditions for almost a year. Too much rain coming too fast brings with it the danger of flooding as the precipitation exceeds the ground’s ability to absorb the water. Of course, several days of rain, without flooding, could help ease the dry conditions.

Eight inches of rain was expected in southeastern Kansas, state climatologist Mary Knapp told the Associated Press. Emergency management officials said they're keeping an eye on the clouds but feel that southeast Kansas could handle several days of rain.


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