AUSTIN, Texas - A severe storm system pounded the US South on Monday with heavy rain, hail and strong winds that snapped power lines in several states along the Gulf of Mexico coast, with tornadoes reportedly touching down in Mississippi.
The National Weather Service issued tornado watches stretching from Louisiana to Florida and flash flood watches for several states in that area. There were no immediate reports of major injuries or deaths from the storm system.
"All severe hazards will be possible including damaging winds and tornadoes, especially across portions of southeast Louisiana and central and southern Mississippi through southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle," the National Weather Service said.
There were reports of tornadoes touching down in three places in Mississippi, the service said.
"There has been no widespread damage," said Ray Coleman, a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, which said there were nearly 20,000 customers without electric power in the state due to the storm system.
High winds also knocked down power lines and trees in Texas, including in the Houston area, as well as in Louisiana, the service said. Hail fell in several states, including Alabama and Arkansas, it added.
More than 11,000 customers were without power as of Monday evening in Texas and Louisiana because of the storm, utility companies reported.
The storms had limited impact on air travel, with 32 flights canceled at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport, one of the country's busiest, as of 6 p.m., according to tracking firm flightaware.com.