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Intense winter storm tears through Texas, dumping snow and heavy rain

Dangerous weather moves across the South
Governors in southern states declare emergencies ahead of winter storm 01:51

Storm fast facts

  • Lubbock, Texas: As much as 10.5 inches of snow recorded in some areas
  • Houston: Harris County Flood Control District reported several Houston-area bayous are out of their banks: Armand Bayou at Genoa Red Bluff Road, Greens Bayou at U.S. 59, Langham Creek at Clay Road, Little Cypress Creek at Becker Road, Mound Creek at FM 362 and South Mayde Creek at Greenhouse Road
  • Houston: Heavy rain has tapered off, temperatures in the 40 expected overnight, said KHOU-TV meteorologist Blake Mathews 
  • Texas: Approximately 1,322 without power 
  • North Carolina: Approximately 2,071 without power
  • Total flight delays Saturday: 1,596 (via FlightAware)
  • Total flight cancellations Saturday: 1,452 (via FlightAware)
  • Ahead of the storm American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United have waived change fees. Others will likely follow suit.  Particulars vary by the airlines.

More than 10 inches of snow were dumped on Lubbock, Texas, as an intense winter storm slammed the state and moved toward the Southeast, threatening millions in its path. The same storm dumped heavy rains on Los Angeles earlier in the week.

The storm tore through Texas, dumping snow and unseasonal heavy rain, CBS News' Janet Shamlian reports. Travel grinded to a near-standstill as plows and tow trucks became a lifeline for those caught off guard.

Overnight, heavy rains hammered Houston.  Roads and highways turned into fast-moving streams  as sewers backed up and overflowed.  First responders used a high-water rescue truck to help these drivers after they stalled on a flooded city street.

With the warnings widespread, many are taking no chances.

"Getting candles for sure, batteries for flashlights and headlamps," said Stephanie Cantu. "I already have my propane stove ready just in case."

George Shaw / LSM

Around 1,724 were without power in Texas as of Saturday afternoon. There were 1,596 total flight delays reported, according to FlightAware, and 1,452 cancellations.

In Houston, the Harris County Flood Control District said major flooding is expected at, near and east of Highway 59. The flooding is expected to impact the Belleau Woods, Forest Cove, Northshore and Riverside Crest subdivisions, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reports.

Officials told KHOU-TV the elevated structures in these areas could be cut off for several days. The river is expected to rise to threshold levels by Saturday afternoon and reach its peak crest Monday evening. It is forecasted to remain above flood stage into Wednesday, and officials say some residents may be cut off for four to five days.

The high water that swamped roads and bayous in Houston is already draining away, but the system is now targeting the Carolinas with snow and bitter cold.

Governors in Virginia and North Carolina already declared emergencies. Up to 18 inches of snow could fall in the Carolina mountains.

A winter weather advisory is in effect from Texas to the Carolinas, said CBS Minnesota meteorologist Lisa Meadows.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Saturday he'd declared an emergency to help state agencies prepare for a storm that's expected to hit hard the southern part of the state. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued his declaration Friday and said impacts of the storm would vary across the state. Forecasters are calling for up to 18 inches of snow in the mountains and possible flooding at the coast.

"Snow may be beautiful but it can also be treacherous and I urge North Carolinians to take this storm seriously and get ready for it now," Cooper said in a statement Friday.

The National Weather Service said Saturday the heaviest snow is expected in northwest North Carolina and southern Virginia. The weather service said a "prolonged period of snow is expected" to begin as early as Saturday evening and lasting until Monday.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for areas in northeastern Georgia, northwestern South Carolina, western North Carolina and southwest Virginia, the weather service said. Winter storm watches and winter weather advisories are also in effect for sections of the southern Plains across the Mid-South as well as parts of northern South Carolina and southwest Virginia.

The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center said heavy rainfall was affecting southeastern Texas and Louisiana, and that northwest Texas and central Oklahoma were seeing "wintry precipitation."

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