At least three people were killed after a tornado tore through a seaside town in North Carolina as millions of people in Texas remained in the dark early Tuesday amid subfreezing temperatures.
Meanwhile, the “massive” winter storm was forecast to continue moving across the Midwest and Northeast, bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain Tuesday, and another winter storm was expected to reach south-central U.S. with snow and ice, the National Weather Service said.
The deadly tornado, which authorities said left at least 10 people injured, hit just after midnight Tuesday in southeastern Brunswick County near Grissettown in the Ocean Ridge Plantation Community. The tornado destroyed homes, downing powerlines that left thousands without electricity and snapping trees in half, news outlets reported.
“It’s something like I have never seen before. A lot of destruction. It’s going to be a long recovery process,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said at a press conference early Tuesday.
Brunswick County Emergency Management said people were trapped in homes. Ingram said searches for missing people were underway and will increase during the day. He’s asked people to avoid the area while crews work to clear the streets and search for victims.
From Monday:150M people under winter advisories as ‘unprecedented’ storm stretches across 25 states
Meanwhile, nearly 4 million homes and businesses were without power early Tuesday in Texas, where temperatures dipped into the single digits overnight. At least six people in four states died as a result of the winter storm since the weekend.
In Houston, a woman and a girl died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at a home without electricity from a car running in an attached garage, police said. The storm could also be to blame for the deaths of two men found along Houston-area roadways, law enforcement officials said. Causes of death were pending Monday night.
Bitter, record-smashing cold accompanied the storm Monday across the central U.S. Hundreds of daily record low temperatures have been or will be broken during this prolonged “polar plunge,” the weather service said, “with some February and even all-time low temperature records in jeopardy.”
Another storm is forecast to blanket the Plains with snow Tuesday before pelting eastern Texas to southwestern Tennessee with freezing rain Tuesday night, the NWS said.
More than 50 million people could see temperatures dip below zero during the next several days, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
Though the snow was expected to wind down across Texas on Monday, heavy snow and freezing rain were forecast to advance northeastward from the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys to the Northeast on Tuesday, the weather service said.
A large swath of 6 to 12 inches of snow is forecast from the Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes to northern New England,” according to the weather service.