Live updates: Tornado causes 'extensive' damage in Deer Park, Baytown

A large tornado ripped through the southeastern Houston area Tuesday leaving significant damage.

Photo of Dan Carson
Streets in southwest Houston quickly turned to rivers as Tuesday's chain of severe storms ripped through Harris County and southeast Texas.

Streets in southwest Houston quickly turned to rivers as Tuesday's chain of severe storms ripped through Harris County and southeast Texas.

Emma Balter / Chron

UPDATE 6:27 p.m CT: Tornado causes significant damage across southeast Houston

Read more: Shell chemicals plant reports 'flaring' due to tornado

UPDATE: 3:35 p.m. CT

A tornado passing through Beltway 8 into Deer Park and Baytown, Texas caused extensive damage to power lines and property on Tuesday afternoon.

The twister formed near the major southern Houston traffic artery and proceeded to blast eastward, throwing cars around and ripping street posts askew. Video shot in the event's aftermath showed significant damage on thoroughfares and in industrial and business lots. 

Meteorologist Jacob Hale posted posted images of damage along Spencer Highway near Beltway 8.

As of this writing it's unclear how many or whether there were casualties caused by the tornado. The chain of tornado-harboring storms rocking southeast Texas continues to travel eastward toward Louisiana at a high clip on Tuesday afternoon.

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UPDATE: 2:43 p.m. CT

A tornado has reportedly been recorded near the Gulf Freeway and Pasadena south of downtown Houston. The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Emergency for Baytown, Deer Park and Highlands, Texas until 3 p.m. CT.

Meteorologist Matthew Cappucci tweeted radar recordings of a "large and destructive" twister crossing the area.

--- End of Update ---


UPDATE: 2:13 p.m. CT

Flash flooding is occurring in and around the Houston metro as severe weather batters southeast Texas. Chains of storms carrying lightning, heavy rain and potential tornados have inundated the region, leaving streets virtual rivers and causing issues on roadways.

Streets in southwest Houston quickly turned to rivers as Tuesday's chain of severe storms ripped through Harris County and southeast Texas.

Streets in southwest Houston quickly turned to rivers as Tuesday's chain of severe storms ripped through Harris County and southeast Texas.

Emma Balter / Chron

Houstonians shared video of the rising waters to their Twitter accounts on Tuesday afternoon. 

As of this writing, severe weather continues to sweep east and north through downtown Houston into the neighboring suburbs.

Residents are advised to stay off the roads and stay in a sheltered location as the system moves through southeast Texas.

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 UPDATE: 1:05 p.m. CT

A flood advisory is in effect for Harris County, Fort Bend, Waller, Austin and Montgomery counties as Tuesday's severe weather continues in southeast Texas. 

The advisory is issued until 3:00 p.m. CT and includes Humble, Kingwood, Greater Heights, Montrose, River Oaks and other sections of Houston proper and beyond the loop.

Houston ISD has cancelled its after-school activities amid Tuesday's deteriorating afternoon weather conditions. 

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UPDATE: 11:37 a.m. CT

A tornado warning indicating imminent tornado formation has been issued for the Tomball, Texas area including Kohrville.

The NWS has indicated that hail of up to a quarter in size could also fall upon the area.

--- End of Update --- 


UPDATE: 11:10 a.m. CT 

A tornado warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for Katy, Texas as well as Brookshire and Simonton, Texas. 

A tornado has been picked up on the NWS' radar and pea-sized hail is possible in the region. Those in the area should seek shelter and await further instruction.

--- End of Update ---


The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for Harris County and the surrounding region in response to a string of strong storms rollicking across southeast Texas on Tuesday.

Driven by a winter storm that crossed over into North Texas on Monday night, the cold front is expected to bring heavy rain, strong winds and potential tornadic activity to the Houston area this morning and afternoon. The potential formation of storm supercells capable of giving rise to tornados inspired the NWS to issue Tuesday's watch notice.

"Given the strong, low-level shear, a strong tornado is possible," a pre-watch analysis issued by the NWS's Storm Prediction Center stated at 10:16 a.m. CT. "Large hail and damaging wind gusts are also possible. As a result, a Tornado Watch will be needed along the middle/upper TX coast [and] far southwest [Louisiana]."

Earlier this morning, Space City Weather's Eric Berger noted that while generally unlikely, today's cold front is accompanied by atmospheric conditions conducive to the formation of tornados and other severe weather events.

"There is plenty of instability, lift, and shear in the atmosphere today," Berger wrote Tuesday. "A lot of the parameters that we look to for tornadic activity are lighting up, especially for areas along and south of Interstate 10. But with that said, the overall environment is not ideal for a tornado formation...just supportive."

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Katy at 10:45 a.m. warning residents of potential quarter-sized hail that could accompany storms as they move into the area.

The main body of Tuesday's severe weather will likely roll through Harris County from late morning until 4 p.m., with Houston's inner loop bearing the brunt between 2 and 4 p.m.  The worst of the system is likely to shove off the coast by 6 p.m., dumping between one and three inches on the area before its departure.

We will continue to provide updates on the system as the day progresses. 

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