Possible tornado damages Houston-area mall

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI | January 9, 2012 | 6:55 PM EST

A motorist makes her way to the service road after she was stranded in the Southbound lane of Loop 288 north of the I-610 exit Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in Houston. City roads were flooded and thousands of Houston residents, including at least five schools, were without electricity Monday after powerful thunderstorms ploughed through the area prompting a tornado warning and dumping several inches of rain and hail on the drought-stricken region. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Cody Duty) MANDATORY CREDIT

HOUSTON (AP) — City roads in Houston have flooded and thousands of residents have lost power after powerful thunderstorms plowed through the area, with a possible tornado damaging and shutting down a nearby mall.

The skies over Houston turned pitch black Monday as the storms raced through, dropping several inches of rain over a two-hour period on the drought-stricken area. Roads rapidly flooded and drivers became stranded on major arteries that connect the city's sprawling neighborhoods and suburbs.

In Texas City, about 40 miles southeast of Houston, a possible tornado damaged the roof and wall of the Mall of the Mainland. The building was evacuated and shut down.

The National Weather Service says it will likely not know until Tuesday whether it was a tornado.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.