Some in Houston face no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage

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Houston Mayor John Whitmire said four, and possibly five, people were killed after storms Thursday swept through Harris County, which includes Houston.
School districts in the Houston area canceled classed for more than 400,000 students and government offices were closed.
City officials urged people to stay off roads, many of which were flooded or lined with downed power lines and malfunctioning traffic lights.
Fallen trees, power lines and broken glass have made some areas impassable, the city said.
The powerful storms also struck neighboring Louisiana on Thursday and left more than 215,000 customers without power at their peak.
More than 100,000 Entergy Louisiana customers in the New Orleans area lost power, NOLA.com reported.
Heavy storms slammed the Houston area during the first week of May, leading to numerous high-water rescues, including some from the rooftops of flooded homes.
___ The story has been updated to correct that school districts across the Houston area canceled classes Friday, not just the Houston Independent School District.

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HOUSTON (AP) — After thunderstorms with hurricane-force winds ripped through the city, cutting off electricity to nearly a million homes and businesses, an official said Friday that power outages could linger for weeks in some areas of Houston.

During a press conference, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the highest ranking elected official in the county, stated, “We will need to discuss this catastrophe in weeks, not days.”.

Four, possibly five, people died as storms on Thursday swept through Houston’s home county of Harris County, according to Houston Mayor John Whitmire. Authorities advised locals to expect days, if not longer, without power and that the cleanup would be gradual.

“Most Houstonians didn’t have time to get themselves out of harm’s way because it was fierce, intense, and quick,” Whitmire remarked.

He issued a warning to potential looters, saying that at least 2,500 traffic lights were out, and added that “police are out in force including 50 state troopers sent to the area to prevent looting.”. “.

Much of Houston came to a standstill as workers rushed to restore power and clear debris and uprooted trees as a result of the widespread destruction. Over 400,000 students had their classes canceled by school districts in the Houston area, and government offices were shuttered. Roads were inundated, lined with fallen power lines and broken traffic lights, and city officials pleaded with residents to avoid them.

Whitmire declared downtown to be “a mess” on Thursday and advised anyone who wasn’t deemed essential workers not to report to work on Friday.

According to officials, at least two of the deaths were brought on by falling trees, and a third occurred when a crane overturned in severe winds. According to Whitmire, there were some twisters and wind speeds of up to 100 mph (160 kph). Whitmire stated that the strong gusts brought to mind Hurricane Ike, which battered the city in 2008.

Glass was all over the streets below as hundreds of windows at downtown hotels and office buildings broke. Some areas are impassable due to fallen trees, broken glass, and power lines, according to the city. Officers from the Department of Public Safety were being dispatched by the state to guard the area.

On Friday, the storms hadn’t ended. States bordering the Gulf Coast may encounter isolated, strong thunderstorms featuring tornadoes, big hail, and destructive winds. According to the National Weather Service, there is a chance of heavy to excessive rainfall from eastern Louisiana into central Alabama. For Houston and the surrounding areas on Friday, there were still flood watches and warnings in effect.

At their worst, the strong storms that also hit neighboring Louisiana on Thursday knocked out power to over 215,000 customers. In the Greater New Orleans area, more than 100,000 Entergy Louisiana customers experienced power outages, according to NOLA.com.

A tornado was reported in Convent, Louisiana, approximately 55 miles (89 kilometers) from New Orleans, according to the Storm Prediction Center website. Numerous reports indicated that trees and power poles had fallen as a result of the storm.

Romeville, St. Louis, may have been hit by a tornado. No injuries or fatalities were reported in James Parish on Thursday night, according to a social media post made by parish officials on Friday morning. However, some homes were damaged and trees fell over.

Tim Erickson, a meteorologist with the weather service’s office for New Orleans and Baton Rouge, reports wind gusts of 84 mph (135 kph) at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and 82 mph (132 kph) at New Orleans Lakefront Airport.

Through Saturday, a flash flood warning was issued by the offices for New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

The storm forced the retractable roof of Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros, to close back in Houston. Rain still entered the stadium, though, because of how strong the wind was. The Oakland Athletics game continued despite the formation of puddles on the outfield warning track.

Flights were briefly grounded at Houston’s two major airports. At Bush Intercontinental Airport, sustained winds of up to 60 mph (96 kph) were recorded.

At 97,000 in Louisiana and 773,000 in Texas, Poweroutage . us reports that the number of power outages was gradually decreasing on Friday morning. There were over 900,000 outages in Texas at one point.

Customers in the Houston area were advised by CenterPoint Energy to “be prepared for extended weather-related power outages.”. “.

Emergency officials in neighboring Montgomery County described the damage to transmission lines as “catastrophic” and issued a warning that power outages could last for several days, indicating that the issues had spread to the suburbs of the city.

The first week of May saw a lot of heavy storms hit the Houston area, which resulted in a lot of high-water rescues, some from the rooftops of flooded homes.

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