Winter Storm Knocks Out Power in Multiple States, Tornadoes Hit South

A downed street sign
A downed street sign lies on the ground after a tornado in Arabi, La., in St. Bernard Parish on Dec. 14. (Matthew Hinton/Associated Press)

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A winter storm that killed three people earlier this week has knocked out power in seven states and unleashed tornadoes near New Orleans.

About 207,000 customers were without power in Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Florida and hardest-hit Wisconsin Dec. 15 as the massive system brought heavy snow, rain and high winds across the eastern U.S., according to PowerOutage U.S. More tornadoes are possible. At least 3 people were killed by the storms, according to USA Today.

As much as 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) of snow could fall across interior New York and northern New England through Dec. 16, but the major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor will receive mainly rain, said Zack Taylor, a senior branch forecaster with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. Meanwhile, portions of the northern Great Plains and upper Midwest will have another day of heavy snow and blizzard conditions.

“The worst of it looks like today, tonight and tomorrow,” Taylor said.

Across the South from Texas to Florida, there have been 52 tornado reports since Dec. 12, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center. On Dec. 14, several twisters hit around New Orleans, tossing debris and toppling some trees and power lines.

In Washington, expected ice mainly missed the city, but some did fall in its suburbs. Government workers had a two-hour delay Dec. 15, the Office of Personnel Management said on its website.

Meanwhile, Texas regulators are warning the oil and natural gas industry to prepare for subfreezing weather that could disrupt energy production and cripple pipelines in the world’s most-prolific shale field.

After the storm passes, temperatures across much of the U.S. are forecast to be 8 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit below normal, according to the Commodity Weather Group. The chilly air will set in across the U.S. from Dec. 20-25, reaching as far south as Texas before shifting mainly to the east from Dec. 25-29.

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