Halloween Severe Storms Threaten Houston to Cincinnati

By Michael Doll, Meteorologist
October 31, 2013; 11:54 PM ET
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A potent storm will bring the threat for strong thunderstorms and flooding rain from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley on Halloween.

Thunderstorms produced wind gusts over 60 mph in southwestern Oklahoma Wednesday night and extreme downpours caused flash flooding across central Texas into the early morning hours Thursday.

The threat for locally damaging winds and flash flooding will shift east and northeast through Thursday.

High winds from these storms can bring down trees and powerlines, causing power outages and possibly damage to structures.

There was a report of a tornado early Thursday afternoon in Jennings, La., just east of Lake Charles.

Thursday evening law enforcement reported a tornado in southern Illinois in Carrier Mills

On top of the severe weather threat, the thunderstorms were causing flight delays at several airports in Texas and Louisiana.

In addition to the winds, these thunderstorms can drop quite a bit of rain in a short period of time. Runoff can cause water levels on creeks and streams to rise rapidly. The rising water can quickly flood roads.

Flooding can also occur in low-lying and poor drainage areas.

By 10:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, portions of Freestone County, Texas, were deluged by 11 inches of rain, according to a Freestone County Emergency Manager. Serious flooding led to high water rescues in central Texas early Thursday.

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Drivers that encounter high water on the roadway are advised not to drive through it and instead turn around and find an alternate route. As little as one foot of water can lift a vehicle and sweep it downstream.

Cities such as Cincinnati, Ohio, Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee, Little Rock, Ark., and Houston, Texas, are in the threat area.

The rain and storms will put a damper on Halloween activities and trick-or-treating. In anticipation of the severe weather, some communities in Tennessee have postponed trick-or-treat until Friday.

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