Storms produce at least one Houston area tornado

Photo: James Nielsen

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Sparkle Anderson, with the city of Pearland Public Information Office, assesses the damage from a possible tornado reported at Highway 35 and Plum on Wednesday. Find more photos online at chron.com com or on the iPad.

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Sparkle Anderson, with the city of Pearland Public Information Office, assesses the damage from a possible tornado reported at Highway 35 and Plum on Wednesday. Find more photos online at chron.com com or on

... more Photo: James Nielsen

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Not every driver was in the same boat, but many probably wished they had one when Wednesday's storms overwhelmed road and street drainage. This scene was along Interstate 45 near Tidwell.

Not every driver was in the same boat, but many probably wished they had one when Wednesday's storms overwhelmed road and street drainage. This scene was along Interstate 45 near Tidwell.

Photo: Karen Warren

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Erendira Gomez eyes the damage done to Los Brother's restaurant after a tornado was reported in Pearland.

Erendira Gomez eyes the damage done to Los Brother's restaurant after a tornado was reported in Pearland.

Photo: James Nielsen

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A business in the 5100 block of Commercial Park Rd near Springdale north of 290, was destroyed by storms on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

A business in the 5100 block of Commercial Park Rd near Springdale north of 290, was destroyed by storms on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Photo: Kelly West, Austin American-Statesman

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Terri Bennett surveys the damage to her house and yard near Springdale north of 290 on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Terri Bennett surveys the damage to her house and yard near Springdale north of 290 on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Photo: Kelly West, Austin American-Statesman

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Sharon Martindale tries to scoop flood water out of her car after a heavy storm and high winds swept through the area damaging homes and flooding road ways on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Sharon Martindale tries to scoop flood water out of her car after a heavy storm and high winds swept through the area damaging homes and flooding road ways on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Photo: Ricardo B. Brazziell, Austin American-Statesman

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Miguel Godinez uses a box to shield himself from a rain shower in the 2300 block of White Oak Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston.

Miguel Godinez uses a box to shield himself from a rain shower in the 2300 block of White Oak Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston.

Photo: James Nielsen, Chronicle

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Vehicle travel east bound on I-10 and Lockwood during an afternoon rain Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston.

Vehicle travel east bound on I-10 and Lockwood during an afternoon rain Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston.

Photo: Johnny Hanson, Houston Chronicle

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Dipti Mathur's hair blows in her face as she walks down McKinney Street Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston. "It's very exciting because we haven't gotten it for the whole year," she said.

Dipti Mathur's hair blows in her face as she walks down McKinney Street Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston. "It's very exciting because we haven't gotten it for the whole year," she said.

Photo: Cody Duty, Houston Chronicle

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Two men on a four-wheeler make their way northbound on the flooded frontage road of I-45, between Tidwell and Parker during the downpour on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston.

Two men on a four-wheeler make their way northbound on the flooded frontage road of I-45, between Tidwell and Parker during the downpour on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston.

Photo: Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle

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Cars make their way northbound on the flooded frontage road of I-45, between Tidwell and Parker during the downpour on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston.

Cars make their way northbound on the flooded frontage road of I-45, between Tidwell and Parker during the downpour on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Houston.

Photo: Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle

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Photo: © 2012 Houston Chronicle

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Los Brother's restaurant manager David Diaz washes fiberglass insulation of of his automobile after the roof of a neighboring building was ripped away after a possible tornado touchdown at Highway 35 and Plum Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Pearland. less Los Brother's restaurant manager David Diaz washes fiberglass insulation of of his automobile after the roof of a neighboring building was ripped away after a possible tornado touchdown at Highway 35 and Plum ... more Photo: James Nielsen, Chronicle

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Update: Lingering clouds Thursday are expected to give way to sunny skies through the weekend as the Houston region dries out after a powerful storm system drenched the region.

A mild cold front is likely to push through the area on the weekend, but little cool down and no rain is expected, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters said Wednesday’s storm dumped up to three inches of rainfall in some spots in the Houston area and sparked at least one tornado in Pearland and another in Brenham.

The Pearland twister was reported about noon near Highway 35 and Plum Street, forecasters said. A Chevron gasoline station had its gas-pump awning destroyed, and the roof of a nearby building was peeled off.

Forecasters said that in Brenham, the tornado was reported about 7:20 a.m. just north of the airport. The twister cut a path about 50 yards wide and 2½ miles long. Several small metal out buildings were destroyed and roof was ripped from a barn. Trees were snapped.

Bush Intercontinental recorded 2.83 inches of rainfall during the storm, which is a record for the date. The previous record was 1.07 inches, which was set in 1907. Hobby Airport also set a record for rainfall Wednesday with 0.93 inches. The previous record of 0.87 inches was set in 1973.

On Thursday, a slight chance of rain is possible north of Houston near Huntsville as an upper-level low moves away from the region.

The high temperature will top out at about 62 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. The low will be near 43. Breezy west winds will be between 5 mph and 15 mph with gusts up to 20 mph. Skies will clear on Friday. The high will be about 68 under sunny skies. The low will be near 47.

The weekend is expected to be sunny and mild as a weak cold front moves through the area. The highs Saturday and Sunday will be in the lower 60s. The lows will be in the lower 40s. No rain is forecast.

Temperatures climb early next week. Highs will be in the mid 60s to lower 70s. Lows will be in the lower 50s.

 

• • •

A storm front bringing heavy rainfall and high winds rolled through the Houston area Wednesday, leaving some local flooding and at least two tornadoes in its wake.

No serious injuries were reported.

Storms doused other areas of the state as well, spawning tornadoes in San Antonio and Austin and bringing some relief to drought conditions. But whether Wednesday's rain will have an impact is too early to tell, forecasters said.

Locally, the line of storms moved around Matagorda early Wednesday morning and struck Houston about noon. On average, it dropped 1 to 4 inches of rainfall in the city, the National Weather Service said.

Bush Intercontinental recorded 2.89 inches Wednesday. At Hobby, the one-day total was .94 inch.

"The Houston metro area got the highest rainfall totals," said Brian Kyle, a National Weather Service forecaster.

Pearland police received reports of a funnel cloud about noon near the 1900 block of Main. Soon after, they were told the high winds downed power lines in the area and damaged the roof of a shopping center.

"The radar was showing some rotation," Kyle said.

Later Wednesday night, forecaster Wendy Wong confirmed the Pearland sighting as a small tornado. Officials also confirmed a small twister near Brenham Municipal Airport. Most of the damage in the area, however, came from straight-line winds, the Weather Service said. They also said it will survey damage reported in Burleson, Madison, Grimes and Walker counties.

No major traffic woes

The rainfall from Wednesday's fast-moving thunderstorms wasn't enough to seriously disrupt Houston-area traffic.

Later in the day, work crews were draining standing water along the southbound lane of U.S. 59 at the 610 West Loop and frontage roads along Interstate 45 near Richey.

"We're trying to remove all of the high water that's out there," said Jennifer Solis at Houston TranStar. "That usually involves cleaning the grass and debris out of drains."

Houston police and Harris County sheriff's officials said they had no reports of traffic fatalities.

Some power outages

The storms prompted the Houston Independent School District to cancel after-school activities for the students.

"It's always a judgment call. There were enough signs to think that was the right thing to do," said HISD spokesman Jason Spencer. "You want to err on the side of caution."

About 32,000 CenterPoint Energy customers lost power at the height of the storm. By Wednesday evening, officials said that number was down to about 1,200.

Houston Airport System officials said the storm delayed 18 flights at Bush Intercontinental and 35 at Hobby Airport.

In northwest San Antonio, storms dumped more than 5 inches of rain and produced a tornado that severely damaged nine homes.

"I feel blessed," said resident Mary Wilson, 65, whose roof was punctured with debris from her neighbor's destroyed home. "God spared lives. Homes can be rebuilt, repaired. Lives are precious."

Austin reported more than 9 inches of rain.

The line of storms brought needed rain to the Houston area, but likely not enough to offset the drought conditions.

"We're still way below normal, but every bit helps," Kyle said.

Thursday's forecast includes a 20 percent chance of showers.

Dale Lezon, John Rigg, Ericka Mellon, Robert Stanton and San Antonio Express-News reporter Ana Ley contributed

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Source : http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Storms-produce-at-least-one-Houston-area-tornado-2711044.php

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