A storm system marched eastward Friday, threatening heavy snow in the Midwest and Northeast after spawning likely tornadoes in Texas and Louisiana that damaged homes, businesses, a university campus and left thousands without power.
The storms will threaten the Tennessee and Ohio valleys with high winds and possible tornadoes as they move toward New England, officials said.
Parts of southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana saw rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow and strong wind gusts Friday, according to Indiana Michigan Power.
In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear warned of possible tornadoes and 55- to 65-mph (88- to 104-kph) wind gusts after rain moves through the state. Several school districts closed in anticipation.
“The wind will really kick in after the storm moves through,” Beshear said Friday. “I don’t want people to have confidence that it’s going to be safe.”
New England was mostly sunny Friday morning ahead of the storm, expected to bring as much as 18 inches (45 centimeters) of snow and winds gusts as high as 40 mph (64 kph) to parts of New Hampshire and Maine.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning from 10 p.m. Friday until 7 p.m. Saturday and said that a mix of snow, sleet and rain was expected in southern New England and that minor coastal flooding was possible in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
No deaths or injuries have been reported from the storms that struck Texas and Louisiana on Thursday night after slamming California earlier in the week with as much as 7 feet (2.1 meters) of snow.
The weather service surveyed damage Friday near Pickton, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of Dallas, where it a confirmed tornado struck, according to meteorologist Daniel Huckaby.
Winds of nearly 80 mph (130 kph) were recorded near the Fort Worth suburb of Blue Mound. The roof of an apartment building in the suburb of Hurst was blown away, resident Michael Roberts told KDFW-TV.
“The whole building started shaking. … The whole ceiling is gone,” Roberts said. “It got really crazy.”
The Dallas suburb of Richardson asked residents to stop using water after the storm knocked out power to pumping stations. The city said in a statement early Friday that electricity and water service had been restored.
“The city does have a backup power system designed to provide power in case of a widespread outage like the one experienced, but the system failed during the storm,” according to the statement. “The cause of the failure is being investigated.”
North of Dallas, winds brought down trees, ripped the roof off a grocery store in Little Elm and overturned four 18-wheelers along U.S. Highway 75. Minor injuries were reported, police said.
Buildings at Louisiana State University-Shreveport were damaged, and trees were toppled, spokesperson Erin Smith, but the campus was reopening Friday after being shut down overnight.
More than 72,000 Texas customers and more than 42,000 in Louisiana remained without electricity Friday, according to PowerOutage.us.
Heavy rain was reported in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, causing flooding in both states.
Police in Hardy, Arkansas, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) north of Little Rock, asked residents along the Spring River to leave their homes because of flooding, while hail and strong winds were reported in Oklahoma.
Parts of southeastern Missouri were under a flash flood warning Friday after heavy rain swelled streams and flooded low-lying highways with runoff, according to the Missouri State Department of Transportation.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Margery Beck in Omaha, Nebraska; Corey Williams in Detroit; Mark Pratt in Boston; and Dylan Lovan in Louisville, Kentucky.