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Messy storms roll eastward after slamming Texas, Louisiana

The roof of the La Azteca grocery store on W. Eldorado Parkway
The roof of the La Azteca grocery store on W. Eldorado Parkway peeled off and landed on a half dozen vehicles parked outside as a line of powerful thunderstorms rolled through Little Elm, Texas, on Thursday.
(Tom Fox / Associated Press)
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A storm system marched eastward Friday, threatening heavy snow in the Midwest and Northeast after spawning likely tornadoes in Texas and Louisiana that damaged homes, businesses, a university campus and left thousands without power.

The storms will threaten the Tennessee and Ohio valleys with tornadoes as they move toward New England, the Storm Prediction Center said. A swath of heavy snow is expected in the Upper Midwest through New England on Friday and Saturday, with sleet and freezing rain possible south of the heaviest snow.

No deaths or injuries have been reported from the storms that struck Texas and Louisiana on Thursday night after slamming California earlier in the week with as much as 7 feet of snow.

The National Weather Service in Fort Worth planned Friday to survey damage near Pickton, about 80 miles east of Dallas, where it said a confirmed tornado struck.

Winds of nearly 80 mph were recorded near the Fort Worth suburb of Blue Mound. The roof of an apartment building in the suburb of Hurst was blown away, resident Michael Roberts told KDFW-TV.

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“The whole building started shaking. ... The whole ceiling is gone,” Roberts said. “It got really crazy.”

The Dallas suburb of Richardson asked residents to stop using water after the storm knocked out power to pumping stations. The city said in a statement early Friday that electricity and water service had been restored.

“The city does have a backup power system designed to provide power in case of a widespread outage like the one experienced, but the system failed during the storm,” according to the statement. “The cause of the failure is being investigated.”

North of Dallas, winds brought down trees, ripped the roof off a grocery store in Little Elm and overturned four 18-wheelers along U.S. Highway 75. Minor injuries were reported, police said.

Buildings at Louisiana State University-Shreveport were damaged, and trees were toppled, spokesperson Erin Smith said, but the campus was reopening Friday after being shut down overnight.

More than 80,000 Texas customers and nearly 11,000 in Louisiana lacked electricity Friday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.

Heavy rain was reported in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, causing flooding in both states.

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Police in Hardy, Ark., about 115 miles north of Little Rock, asked residents along the Spring River to leave their homes because of flooding, while hail and strong winds were reported in Oklahoma.

Parts of southeastern Missouri were under a flash flood warning Friday morning after heavy rain swelled streams and flooded low-lying highways with runoff, according to the Missouri State Department of Transportation.

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