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2003 brings U.S. storms

Severe storms rolling across the South caused pockets of damage in several states.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | January 1, 2003

Severe storms rolling across the South on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day caused pockets of damage in several states.

Several tornadoes may have touched down, according to state weather reports, including one in Mary Esther, Fla. that destroyed at least two mobile homes as the storms swept across the Florida Panhandle.

And in Louisiana, "we had trees down all across the area," added Chris Johnson, a Shreveport, La.-based spokesman for the Louisiana State Police. Shreveport received about two inches of rain while New Orleans tallied 1.5 inches.

In the southwestern portion of Louisiana, a tornado touched down in the town of Iowa, according to Calcasieu Parish emergency management officials. The most severe damage found as of Wednesday morning was a roof blown off a restaurant but response crews were still assessing damage. Residential damage was reported in town of Vinton in that parish.

Near Mobile, Ala. thousands of people were without power and street flooding marred holiday travel.

In Texas, Dallas saw some three inches of rain, and Austin residents reported golf ball-size hail. The National Weather Service confirmed tornadoes touched down north of Dallas, but Texas emergency management officials said no severe damage resulted.

At least one death was attributed to the bad weather when a tree fell on a vehicle in Louisiana.

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