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Rare December tornado hits Louisiana

Andrea Stockton, staff writer
December 21, 2011 — A weak tornado touched down in Louisiana Tuesday causing damage to a local hospital.

Several major highways were closed on Monday
Several major highways were closed on Monday

It was the first tornado to strike anywhere in the U.S. this December. The U.S. National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 twister touched down in Lake Charles Tuesday morning.

The twister packed winds of up to 177 km/h and caused damage to the nearby DeQuincy Memorial Hospital. Officials say part of the hospital roof was ripped off and several patients were forced to evacuate. They were transferred to hospitals nearby and no injuries were reported.

It's still unclear when the hospital will be able to accommodate overnight patients once again due to the damage. Downed trees and power lines were also reported in the area Tuesday.

Meanwhile, heavy snow that's been pounding the Great Plains has caused holiday travel misery for drivers over the past couple of days.

As much as 40 cm of snow has fallen in parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The major storm is also being blamed for six deaths in the region.

The storm is losing much of its punch Wednesday as it tracks toward the Great Lakes.

With files from The Associated Press

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