Weekend storms challenge southern states again

BY GEORGE PIPER | JASPER COUNTY, TX | January 31, 1999


Snow, ice storms and wind are making life tough in this state this weekend while rivers and creeks in other Southern states approached flood stage.

It was just the latest severe storm system to pound the south this month.

So much rain has fallen that Shreveport, LA, has posted the wettest January

since weather records started to be recorded in 1871.

At least two tornadoes touched down on Friday in Jasper County, Texas,

about 130 miles northeast of Houston. Sheriff's department officials said

the twisters did not cause any injuries or damage to residences. Reports of

hail as big as golf balls came in from all around East Texas.

High winds in Hunt and Rains counties close to Dallas injured at least one

person and damaged or destroyed some 30 buildings, including an elementary

school in Lone Oak.

Three people died on Thursday in an auto accident blamed on icy roads near

Farwell, Texas, about 90 miles southwest of Amarillo. Snowfall totals

reached as much as six inches in Amarillo, and several West Texas highways

remained closed due to slick conditions.

Flooding was expected near Liverpool, La., on Saturday as the Tickfaw River

approached flood stage, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Homes

and property in low-lying areas near the river appeared most at risk.

In Livingston Parish, La., a tornado touched down and tore the roof off of

a home on Friday, but no injuries were reported.

In Mississippi, towns along the Big Black River face floodwaters on Sunday,

according to NWS reports. The river is expected to crest at 21 feet -- nine

feet about flood stage -- in West, located 60 miles north of Jackson.

The weather service said Saturday the river may rise more than four feet

above flood stage near Bentonia, which is 25 miles northwest of Jackson.

Near Bovina, about 35 miles west of Jackson, the Big Black River is

expected to crest more than five feet above flood stage late Sunday or

early Monday. Lowland property and agricultural land near the river is

threatened at all three locations, according to the NWS.

The Sabine River near Burkeville, Texas, about 150 miles northeast of

Houston, is expected to flood residential areas Sunday night as the

river reaches a crest of 45 feet.

Downriver communities on the Sabine,

which borders Texas and Louisiana, could see flooding later in the week.

Another floodprone Texas river, the Trinity, will rise one to four feet

above flood stage by Wednesday at Liberty and Moss Bluff, both located in

East Texas, according to the NWS. Flooding could occur Tuesday and

Wednesday in those communities.

Scattered areas throughout Arkansas, where deadly tornadoes struck on Jan.

21, may receive flooding relegated to agricultural and low-lying areas,

according to NWS reports.

Counties in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri

all were under flash flood watches or warnings Saturday night.


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