Winter weather including freezing rain, snow, tornadoes, thunderstorms, high winds move across US

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Freezing rain and sleet made for a sloppy Christmas trek in parts of the nation's midsection, while residents along the Gulf Coast faced thunderstorms, high winds and tornadoes that were doing damage in some areas.

Winds toppled a tree onto a pickup truck in the Houston area, killing the driver. Icy roads already were blamed for a 21-vehicle pileup in Oklahoma, where authorities warned would-be travelers to stay home.

Trees fell on a few houses in central Louisiana's Rapides Parish but there were no injuries reported so far and crews were cutting trees out of roadways to get to people in their homes, said sheriff's Lt. Tommy Carnline. Possible damage also was reported near McNeil, Miss.

Fog blanketed highways, including arteries in the Atlanta area where motorists slowed as a precaution. In New Mexico, drivers across the eastern plains had to fight through snow, ice and low visibility.

At least three tornadoes were reported in Texas, though only one building was damaged, according to the National Weather Service. Tornado watches were in effect across southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

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